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93rd Division - The Blue Helmets

On November 23, 1917 the War Department activated the 93rd Division at Camp Stuart in Newport News, Virginia. The United States military was racially segregated during the First World War, and the 93rdDivision consisted of African-American soldiers generally commanded by white officers. The core of the Division included men from African-American National Guard units from New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. Selective service draftees from South Carolina soon joined them. The Division did not train in one location in the United States. Its constituent units were stationed at different bases around the country.

369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division troops train in trenches near Maffrecourt, France. Assigned to French divisions, they were issued French helmets, rifles, and equipment, making resupply easier. May, 1918.

The units of the 93rd Division did not serve together overseas. Given a dire need for replacements in the French Army, the Division's regiments were detached and assigned to French units for the rest of the war. These units reorganized to conform to the French Army, and the Division headquarters disbanded. Serving with the French Army, the units of the 93rdDivision participated in combat operations in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Champagne Sector, Thur Sector, Vosges, Argonne Sector, and Verdun Sector.

The 371st Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division at a decoration ceremony in Paris, France. 1918.

Fighting alongside the French, the men of the 93rd Division demonstrated the bravery of American soldiers and the United States' commitment to the Alliance. Despite the racial discrimination they faced, the "Blue Helmets" dedicated themselves to honorably serving the United States, even when that meant serving separately from the U.S. Army and not fighting together as a cohesive Division.

Soldiers of the 372nd Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division prepare to board a ship in France for their return home. March, 1919.

Constituent Units of the 93rd Division

185thInfantry Brigade

  • 369thInfantry Regiment
  • 370thInfantry Regiment

186thInfantry Brigade

  • 371stInfantry Regiment
  • 372ndInfantry Regiment
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