Monthly Archives: February 2012

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RED TAILS on the Ground



The mission to keep the pilots and planes of the 99th Fighter Squadron (Red Tails) safe from enemy saboteurs while on the ground in Italy between aerial sorties fell to the 366th Infantry Regiment—the only all-African American infantry regiment deployed during World War II.  The story of Will and his 366th Regiment comrades in arms is told the 2009 historical/action/romance novel, Will and Dena.  See an excerpt from Chapter 29 below from this 5-star novel.

© 2009 by Bob Rogers.  All Rights Reserved.

Joe was outraged. “Well, I’ma tell y’all one damn thing. I didn’t sign up to guard no damned airplanes!”  Nixon stood erect and brought himself to his full height. “Private First Class Bevins, that’s enough. You don’t get a say in what assignments are made. So, can it! Understood?”

Joe snapped to attention and avoided eye contact with Nixon. “Yes, Sergeant!”

For the first time since the regiment was formed, companies and platoons were split apart and assigned to provide anti-sabotage security for the Fifteenth Army Air Force at aerodromes scattered over Sardinia and southern Italy. Company N boarded a Navy LST for the slow voyage around the sole and heel of the boot to Ramitelli Aerodrome near the city of Termoli on Italy’s Adriatic coast.

* * *

“Red alert! Second Squad, saddle up. You’re going out on emergency patrol. Briefing in ten minutes!” Nixon’s head was gone from the tent flap before Will could comprehend that he was being ordered into action. The Four Musketeers stood slowly and exchanged unbelieving glances. It was late June. This was their first red alert.  Will dropped his bid whist hand on his folding cot and ran with his squad members to the latrine.

Eight minutes later, the squad, in full gear, with rations, ammunition, and water, assembled in the briefing hut used by pilots of the 99th Pursuit Squadron. He was surprised to see the Fourth Squad arrive. Lieutenant Black conducted the briefing using a large map of Ramitelli and an M1 cleaning rod as a pointer. Will’s hands trembled, not unlike the night the Klan came for a visit. He noted Black’s words: “kill or capture” and “capture if possible” and “two to five possible enemy saboteurs.”


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BSS Salutes the Red Tails’ Sentinels: the 366th Infantry Regiment


Will and Dena: Love and Life in World War II

Follow Will’s all-star baseball career, dramatic confrontation with the KKK, romance shared with Dena, his days as a soldier responsible for the safety of the Red Tails (pilots and planes) while they were on the ground at their Ramitelli Aerodrome in Italy, plus finally see him in the action he sought, fighting against the German Army.

Available in paperback and ebooks (.pdf, ePub, Kindle, NOOK, Sony).  Link to purchase options here:


  • / Comments Off on Reviews for First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story

Reviews for First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story




First Dark is a well researched work of historical fiction, set during and just after the Civil War. This engaging story centers on Isaac Rice, a run-away slave who eventually joins a Buffalo Soldier’s unit of the Union Army in the West and intertwines his life and experiences with those of such diverse people as plantation owners, US congressmen, army units operating behind enemy lines, hostile indians and Mexican combatants. It accurately reflects the attitudes and prejudices of the times and presents both villains and heroes.

Rogers makes this novel extremely readable and entertaining as a book of fiction that is based upon actual events and deeds of real people.

I thought it was great and I highly recommend “First Dark”. — E.S. Tennent

“First Dark” is a powerful story of the underbelly of American history that has been carefully researched and then written. It covers the horrors of bigotry from the points of view of several different characters and brings everything together at the end of the story. Characters are well-public_htmled and believable, and the dialogue and description throughout the book are brilliant, bringing the reader right into the story. The author’s creation of characters who blend well with actual historic figures from that era is spectacular, to say the least. This is one of those books the reader will never forget.  — Alice Dinizo for Readers Favorites


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Kindle, NOOK, iBookstore, and other Versions of First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story


5 black stars

First Dark cover
First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story

Get the 5-Star historically correct action novel, First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story and follow Buffalo Soldier Isaac Rice and the women who love him as they struggle to make a life against determined enemies amid the violence of the U.S. Civil War, Indian Wars, America’s Reconstruction period, and spillover bloodshed from a Mexican Revolution.

Available for PCs, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, NOOK, Sony, and ePUB readers from:


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  • / Comments Off on African American History Month: An Eyewitness to History

African American History Month: An Eyewitness to History


IJHouston in 2009

IJ Houston in 2009

For African American History Month, Buffalo Soldier Sentinel proudly welcomes World War II veteran and author Ivan J. Houston of Southern California to its pages.  Mr. Houston was an eyewitness to history.  The following excerpt from his book, Black Warriors:  The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II, relates his vivid memories of his time in Italy as a part of the United States Army’s 92nd Infantry Division (“Buffalo Division”).



“As the 3rd Battalion began its offensive, we moved through the villages and towns of Lugnano, Uliveto, Caprona, and Asciano, all on the north side of the river east of Pisa.  All along the way, hundreds of starving and cheering Italians surrounded our vehicles,  They threw flowers at us and shouted, “Viva Americani!”  They had been living behind German lines for months without adequate food.  Even though they were allies of the Germans, they did not like the “Tedeschi,” the Italian word for Germans.  Except for a few fascists, most of the people we encountered were truly happy to see us:  they were free.  Celebrations in each community seemed to grow as the morning progressed.  At a hamlet just north of the Arno, the citizens greeted us with more cries of “Viva Americani!” “Boun giorno!” and phrasesthat were beyond our limited vocabulary.  Others just waved happily.  Some of the women could be seen crying.  The excited civilians clung to our vehicles and showered the soldiers with grapes, flowers, and fruit.  Some ran along,pouring wine for all who would accept it, while others of both sexes and all ages paid their tribute with hearty kisses.  They had every guy in the column feeling like a conquering hero.  Even today I smile and feel good when I recall those scenes.  Here wereWhite Italians greeting Negro Americans as liberators and showering us with love, while in our own country we remained second-class in all respects.

92nd Infantry Division in Italy - WWII

92nd Infantry Division in Italy - WWII

The vehicle I was riding in was fired upon by German 88s as soon as it left Lugnano, where I had given a starvingpriest a can of food.  I remember that priest even today.  He was thin and his eyes and cheeks were sunken.  He seemed embarrassed to be asking for a handout.  We could hear the explosion of the 88s first and then the hiss of the incoming shell.  All but one of us, Private Hiram MacBeth, a slow-moving, slow-talking Southern farm boy, got out of the truck and went to a prone position on the street.  MacBeth remained in the truck, sound asleep.  We joined him after a few rounds and continued quickily toward battalion headquarters.  MacBeth remained asleep throughout the bombardment.  That shelling was the first time I realized that the Germans were firing directly at me.  Our vehicle passed through Pisa on its way to battalion headquarters.  There, outside the walls of the Tower complex.  I spoke with a Japanese-American soldier from the 100th Battalion.  We crouched low to avoid being spotted [and] shot by snipers.”


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“Black Warriors: The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II”


Black Warriors

Black Warriors

Numbering 4,000 select officers and men, Combat Team 370 was part of n Europe during World War II the 92nd Infantry Division, the only all-Negro division to fight in Europe during World War II.  In Black Warriors: The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II, author Ivan J. Houston recounts his experiences, when, as a nineteen-year-old California college student, he entered the US Army and served with the 3rd Battalion, 370th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division of the US Fifth Army from 1943 to 1945.

Available at Amazon:


  • / Comments Off on EDITORIAL: Do you remember?

EDITORIAL: Do you remember?



Do you remember?


Do you remember what “the dark past has taught us?”  Do you remember the stony road we traveled as a people and the “bitter chast’ning rod” felt by our forebearers?  Do you remember that the same forebearers shed tears that watered the way over which we have come?

“In days to come, when your children ask you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to them, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”  (Exodus 13:14)

Lesli Koppelman Ross:  “We always talk about remembering in conjunction with the Holocaust. Remember the six million. The world must remember so that a holocaust can never again happen. Remember those who perished in order to honor them and give their deathsmeaning.”

“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”  (Deuteronomy 6:7-9)

Pulitzer Prize winner, columnist, and author Leonard Pitts Jr. once asked two African American women to describe a lynching they witnessed in 1930. “I try and put that behind me,” said Sarah E. Weaver-Pate. “I’d just rather forget that.” “Why bring it up?” snapped Clara Jeffries. “It’s not helping anything. People don’t want to hear it.”

Writing in the Miami Herald, January 5, 2011, Pitts went on to say, “Every January we hear Martin Luther King’s great speech. Every February, school kids dress up as black inventors or social leaders. But there is in us — meaning the African-American community — a marked tendency to avoid the grit, gristle and grime of our history. The telling of those stories is neither institutionalized nor even particularly encouraged. It is time for that to change.”

My purpose is to contribute to that change; to be a voice telling our stories, including history, horror, and humor – lest our stories are co-opted and told for us by conservative revisionists.

— Bob Rogers


  • / Comments Off on Veterans Affairs NEWS: Veterans and Beneficiaries Receive 2012 Cost of Living Adjustment

Veterans Affairs NEWS: Veterans and Beneficiaries Receive 2012 Cost of Living Adjustment


Veterans and Beneficiaries Receive 2012 Cost of Living Adjustment

January 24, 2012

Information Available On-Line for E-Benefits Enrollees

WASHINGTON – Veterans, their families, and survivors receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs saw a 3.6 percent increase in their compensation and pension benefits beginning January 1.

“Veterans, their families and their survivors are entitled to benefits that keep pace with the cost of living,” saidSecretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA is also using the latest technology to provide Veterans and theirfamilies with access to current information about their benefits.”

The new compensation rates will range from $127 monthly for a disability rated at 10 percent to $2,769 monthly for 100 percent.  The cost of living adjustments (COLAs) also apply to disability and death pension recipients, survivors receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, disabled Veterans receiving automobile and clothing allowances, and other benefits.  The full rates are available on the Internet at

Under federal law, COLAs for VA’s compensation and pension rates are the same percentage as for Social Security benefits.  The last COLA for VA benefits was in 2008 when the last Social Security increase occurred.

“Veterans receiving VA disability and pension payments can now check their new 2012 COLA increase online,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.  “I encourage all Veterans, their dependents and survivors to sign up for eBenefits, VA’s popular website that recently crossed the one million mark in registrations.”

In close collaboration, the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA jointly public_htmled the eBenefits portal ( as a single secure point of access for online benefit information and tools to perform multiple self-service functions, such as checking monthly benefit rates, filing a claim, or checking its status.

Veterans may enroll in eBenefits and obtain a Premium account by verifying their identity in-person at the nearest regional office or online depending on their status, or calling VA’s toll free number at 1-800-827-1000.

Servicemembers may also enroll in eBenefits using their Common Access Card at any time during their military service, or before they leave during their Transition Assistance Program briefings.

VA is enhancing its online eBenefits services with newer features such as online selection of Veterans organizations or other advocates to represent applicants for benefits where representation is desired.

Another new feature automates messages sent to Veterans and Servicemembers to notify them of benefits that they may be eligible to receive based on recent life events, such as military separation or marriage.

The site also continues to consolidate access to other VA and DoD systems through the portal, recently incorporating a gateway to vocational rehabilitation benefits under VA’s VetSuccess program.  Web access to information and benefits management tools for Servicemembers, Veterans and their families is part of VA and DoD’s lifetime engagement strategy from an individual’s entry into the military through the twilight years in civilian life as a Veteran.

VA provides non-taxable compensation and pension benefits to over four million Veterans, family members, and survivors.  Disability compensation is a non-taxable monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled as a result of an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.

For more information about VA benefits or new payment rates, visit  or call 1-800-827-1000.