Monthly Archives: July 2012

  • / Comments Off on Editorial: “Buffalo Soldiers”: TV Movie – 1997

Editorial: “Buffalo Soldiers”: TV Movie – 1997


(c) An editorial by Bob Rogers, 16 July 2012

The story line offered with the movie, “Buffalo Soldiers,” starring Danny Glover, describes the film as fact based.  With the apparent noble intention of illustrating and informing their audience of the important contributions made by African American soldiers in the invasion, occupation and settlement of the southwestern United States, writers Jonathan Klein and Frank Military weave a tale of Company H, Tenth Cavalry and its attempt to capture an “Apache warrior named Vittorio” who slaughters settlers in New Mexico.  Directed by Charles Haid, the film further promises to reveal “the truth about the Indian invaders.”

“Buffalo Soldiers” is a major disappointment.  The great cinematography delivers misinformation at best and definitely sets back the education of the public with its false narrative.

In 1997, I saw this movie and shook my head.  Because a number of people have mentioned it to me this year (2012) with praise, I saw it again last week.  This time, I was appalled.

Black cavalrymen and infantrymen of Buffalo Soldier fame were well respected by their Indian adversaries.  They earned grudging recognition from fellow white soldiers and genuine praise from their white officers.  And, they certainly did not commit the repugnant crime purported near the end of the movie.  Civil War hero Colonel Grierson was not the wimp portrayed in the movie, nor was he wounded by Indians during his twenty plus years as the commander of the Tenth Cavalry.

Chihenne Chief Victorio (not “Vittorio”) is known to scholars as well as buffs.  Between 1970 and 1991, authors Eve Ball and Dan Thrapp wrote scholarly and complete volumes about Chief Victorio and why he led his Mimbres Apaches (sometimes called Warm Springs Apaches or Eastern Chiricahua Apaches) in a fourteen month war against the United States.  Called America’s greatest guerilla fighter, Victorio was certainly not a Mescalero Apache as he was called in the movie, though a few Mescalero warriors joined his band.

At Rattlesnake Springs in West Texas, the movie makers missed a chance to depict the actual dramatic showdown.  It was Grierson versus Victorio.  The two generals deployed their troops expertly and with aplomb.  That day, Grierson used his Companies A, B, C, G, and H – each a company of Buffalo Soldiers.  Find the factual and exciting outcome in readable story form here along with a recommended bibliography for your reading pleasure.

“Buffalo Soldiers,” in addition to being an instrument of misinformation, is a teaching opportunity squandered.


  • / Comments Off on A New Gallery for Buffalo Soldier Art

A New Gallery for Buffalo Soldier Art


The Bob Rogers Gallery

CHARLOTTE, NC (July 9, 2012)- On last Saturday, The Bob Rogers Gallery (online) opened to the public.  The new gallery is located at and features the works of several renowned artists.  Prints are available for bid from the collections of the following famed illustrators: Lee Brubaker, John W. Jones, Roger Price III, Bob Snead, and Don Stivers.


At the opening, Bob Rogers, curator and author of First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story, commented: “The gallery was added to serve the growing needs of artists and art owners to have another outlet for the public to peruse and purchase Buffalo Soldier art.”

Bids can be submitted on the gallery’s web page and are transmitted directly to the artists or owners.  See more art here and make a bid…


  • / Comments Off on Book Reviews

Book Reviews


First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story

First Dark cover

First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story

Reviewed by Dr. Shelley Kirilenko, author of The Blue Kimono


Dr. Shelley Kirilenko

First Dark captivated me from page one as the novel became my time travel machine into another world. First, I find myself in an early May 1863 rain shower, riding a mule drawn wagon along a rutted dirt road near Charleston, South Carolina. In an instant, I’m face down in the woods on the wet ground behind a wild azalea bush watching African American infantrymen ambush Confederate soldiers.

Bob Rogers’ rich description of the beasts of the field and the landscape they roam took me back in time to our Civil War and the struggles that followed with the “Negro, Mexican, and Indian Problems” and into the 1880s. The First Dark protagonist, buffalo soldier Isaac Rice, is confronted by natural and man-made catastrophes that make the book a real page-turner. Engaging escapades between the flesh and blood fictional characters who find and lose love, and the real-life characters they meet along the way, make First Dark a top-notch work of historical fiction.

The authentic dialects of characters from coastal and piedmont regions of South Carolina and the piney woods of Mississippi add a fresh insight into the mores and folkways of Apaches, Mexicans, blacks, and whites. Rogers’ First Darkis masked with aplomb by the artful unfolding of plot and subplot. I quite simply couldn’t put the book down.


First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story

Reviewed by Bryan Haynes, UNC School of the Arts

Honestly, before I read the first page [of First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story], I had some minor trepidation.  I knew Bob was a military man and was afraid that he would carry over the terse and truncated communication style of an officer. I was so surprised and happy with the first chapter.  Bob truly has a beautiful, lyrical writing style that would “make an Irish poet tear”.  I loved the story and the depth Bob put into characters and am really looking forward to his next book.


  • / Comments Off on Why Return?

Why Return?


Buffalo Soldier Sentinel welcomes the opportunity to reprint a recent article by humanitarian William E. Martin of South Carolina and Liberia.  Bill Martin retired 15 years ago from the corporate world and started doing humanitarian work around the world. Currently, he is on a four month leave from his assignment as the Senior Advisor to the Minister of Health & Social Welfare, Republic of Liberia.  Bill’s article first appeared in the South Carolina Lutheran.

Bill Martin

Bill Martin – Photo by Bob Rogers (c) BBBR

Why Return?

By William E. Martin

December 1999-after three days of flying and waiting for unpunctual airlines, I finally reach my destination: Monrovia. The capital of Liberia, a small country on the African Atlantic coast lodged between Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire. Upon my arrival I am welcomed by long-time missionaries Doris and Jerry Freeze. During the 3-hour drive to Phebe Hospital & School of Nursing, I have plenty of time for a “windshield” view and survey of the destruction caused by a 14-year civil war. For hours my hosts describe the chaos and the misery that the war engenders. During the discussion, I frequently ask my hosts, “After witnessing all of this why do you guys keep returning here?” After a wonderful meal and a long drive, Jerry says: “Bill, it’s getting late. We’ll talk about that in the morning.”

Twelve years later, I am the one who is often being asked, “Why do you keep returning to Liberia?” Ironically, last December I received an e-mail from Doris Freeze, who is now retired, asking: “Bill why do you keep returning to Liberia?”

The simple answer is that I love being there.

A more detailed answer to this question is: Because I discovered that the more you share the more you learn. In Liberia after 14 years of war, young people (who represent 50% of the population), need mentors, teachers, and people willing to share their skill sets and knowledge. In fact, in any public_htmling country, there is a great need to build or re-build the economy, the political and institutional systems, the infrastructures, etc. All this is in order to establish social stability, to permit to a nation to public_html and flourish. Managerial and leadership skills can be taught.  If one is willing to share, to mentor and transfer knowledge and skills everything becomes possible.

Like the Marshall plan that rebuilt Europe, the role of missionaries and other outsiders should consist of providing aid in drafting programs, supporting projects, and allowing the citizens of the public_htmling country to implement actions against hunger, poverty, and improve their lives. Liberia, like many other public_htmling countries, was devastated by civil war. Now they need people with sound judgment and a desire to public_html creative solutions to assist in the country’s recovery.  The loss of moral values and ethic is a collateral casualty of war, so it may take outsiders to initially provide guidance in restoring those.

Why should an American living in beautiful Charleston, SC get involved in the rebuilding of a country like Liberia?

Ego may play a role, because it is not often one gets to help build or rebuild a whole nation: healthcare facilities and systems, church organizations, and individuals. The simple task of training young people is extremely difficult in a culture where information retention is a tradition since sharing it would mean reducing your power.  Mentoring young educated Liberians means to show them that sharing knowledge, information and skills makes them more valuable and influential.

In 2006, I was asked by the newly appointed Minister of Health and Social Welfare to help him rebuild the destroyed Liberian healthcare delivery system.  I formed a small support unit for the Minister known as the OPS Center (Office of Protocol and Support). After working in the OPS Center with eight recent college graduates for three years, I started a new assignment on the big hospital ship Africa Mercy in Togo and Benin.  When I returned to Liberia in October 2010, I was extremely pleased to learn that seven of “my people” had received promotions and substantial salary increases because of the skills they had acquired working in the OPS Center.  The lessons they learned were as simple as being on time, dressing for success or providing excellent customer service. They learned the importance of not only understanding the goals but also the underlying reasons of their mission.

Today there is a fantastic opportunity for skilled Americans to contribute. You need to expand your definition of “community” to include the public_htmling world. Because of this broader definition one can go build, share knowledge, provide guidance and support, listen actively and respond effectively. Helping is rewarding and probably one of the most fulfilling accomplishments you can think about.  As everyone knows, the teacher always learns more than the students.

ELCA is offering new short-term opportunities for lay volunteers to share their skills in public_htmling countries throughout Africa.  If service abroad is not your avocation, you can still participate vicariously in supporting volunteers serving in Africa.

I am optimistic for humanity, I know you are too.


About the author:

William E. Martin Isle of Palms SC USA

Bill retired 15 years ago from the corporate world and started doing humanitarian work around the world. Currently he is on a four month leave from his assignment as the Senior Advisor to the Minister of Health & Social Welfare, Republic of Liberia.

Bill’s international interest began with hosting high school or college exchange students and foreign guests in his home. After graduating in 1969 from Ferris State University with a degree in business administration he worked for the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington DC. Bill served in Vietnam, in 1970 and 1971, as a Specialist IV in the Infantry with the 101st Airborne where he earned a Bronze Star. For the next 22 years, Bill was the CEO and president of five “turn-around” health and insurance corporations.   In 1999, Bill became a Lutheran missionary. He served for four years, running the largest hospital in Liberia. The country was then in the middle of a 14-year civil war. Over this period the hospital was evacuated three times because of rebels’ attacks. The hospital medical director was an American-trained Liberian physician named Walter T. Gwenigale, M.D.

In 2006, Bill worked in Baton Rouge with the American Red Cross in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Later that year he became the Director of Hospital Operations on the M/V Africa Mercy, the world’s largest charity hospital ship, berthed in Cotonou, Benin and Lomé, Togo.

In the relative stability afforded by the end of the war, Liberia held a historic election in 2005. Liberian voters elected Africa’s first female head of state – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. President Sirleaf appointed Dr. Gwenigale as Liberia’s Minister of Health & Social Welfare. The newly appointed minister asked Bill to become his senior advisor and help set up the ministry.


  • / Comments Off on C-130 Crashes Fighting South Dakota Wildfire

C-130 Crashes Fighting South Dakota Wildfire





N.C. Air Guard Identifies Airmen Killed in C-130 Crash

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2012 – North Carolina Air National Guard officials today released the names of four crew members killed when their C-130 cargo plane equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire-Fighting System crashed July 1 as they fought South Dakota’s White Draw Fire.

Two other crew members were seriously injured and remain hospitalized, and their names will not be released, officials said.

“Words can’t express how much we feel the loss of these airmen,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan, commander of the 145th Airlift Wing. “Our prayers are with their families, as well as our injured brothers as they recover.”

Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Mikael, Air Force Maj. Joseph McCormick, Air Force Maj. Ryan David, and Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon died in the crash.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the crash.

The crew and its aircraft, along with two other 145th Airlift Wing C-130s and three dozen airmen had flown from Charlotte, N.C., to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 30 to assist wildfire fighting efforts in the Rocky Mountain region.

At a news conference at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, today, where the 145th Airlift Wing is based, the North Carolina Air National Guard’s state public affairs officer said the wing’s two remaining MAFFS-equipped C-130 aircraft are scheduled to return home.

“The MAFFS operations are ongoing,” Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Carver said. “Our aircraft are scheduled to come back home. It’s a small community that does the MAFFS mission, a community within the Air Guard community, so these people all knew each other very well, and they’re going through a tough time.”

Carver praised the service of the fallen airmen and noted their names would be added to a memorial at the unit’s headquarters.

“Our people come here out of a sense of patriotism and out of a sense of wanting to be public servants,” Carver said. “They enjoy the excitement of doing this kind of work. They were [ready] to go on Saturday … when they left.”

“You can’t say enough about people who are willing to go in harm’s way when we need it as Americans,” he said.

  • / Comments Off on Processing of Retroactive Agent Orange Claims Nearly Complete

Processing of Retroactive Agent Orange Claims Nearly Complete



Processing of Retroactive Agent Orange Claims Nearly Complete  June 19, 2012

Milestone Allows VA to Refocus 1,200 Decision Makers on Claims Backlog

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that nearly 230,000 claims have already been processed for the three newest Agent-Orange related conditions through June 2012, including over 150,000 claims required to be adjudicated under the order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The near completion of these complex Nehmer claims enables VA to redirect 1,200 employees who were dedicated to reviewing the Agent Orange cases toward addressing the current backlog of disability claims.

“I am proud of our VA employees who worked hard to complete these Agent Orange claims, putting over $3.6 billion into the hands of our Vietnam Veterans and their survivors,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “We completed all of the Agent Orange Nehmer claims for living Veterans, and are now focusing on the fewer than 500 remaining that will benefit survivors.”

The Agent Orange claims stemmed from VA’s 2010 amendment of its regulations to add ischemic heart disease, hairy cell and other chronic B-cell leukemias, and Parkinson’s disease to the list of diseases presumed to be related to exposure to the herbicide used in Southeast Asia.

“While we work to transform how we do business through new processes and technology, at the end of the day it’s about taking care of our Veterans and their loved ones on the issues affecting their lives,” said Secretary Shinseki.

Given the complexity of the historical casework, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) allocated its most experienced decision makers, about 37 percent of its rating staff, to processing Agent Orange claims.  VBA’s 13 resource centers were exclusively dedicated to re-adjudicating these claims.

Even with this allocation of 37 percent of the rating staff dedicated to Agent Orange claims, VA processed over 1 million disability claims in each of the last 2 years, an unprecedented number. “Incoming claims over the last ten years have nearly doubled,” said VA Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison A. Hickey.  “Being able to refocus these skilled raters on the backlog is vitally important.”

In addition to redirecting its rating staff, VA has public_htmled a comprehensive transformation plan to achieve in 2015 Secretary Shinseki’s goal of completing claims within 125 days at 98 percent accuracy.  The plan is built on more than 40 designed, tested, and measured people, processing, and technology initiatives.  VA is now beginning the nationwide rollout of its new operating model and electronic processing system, known as the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).  All regional offices will be operating under the new model and using the new processing system by the end of 2013.

VA has established a website,, to assist Veterans in filing claims for the three new conditions related to the effects of Agent Orange exposure.  It guides Veterans through automated, program-assisted menus to capture the information and medical evidence needed for faster claims decision.    Potentially eligible Veterans include those who were exposed based on duty or visitation in Vietnam or on its inland waterways between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975; exposed along the demilitarized zone in Korea between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971; or exposed due to herbicide tests and storage at military bases within and outside of the United States.


  • / Comments Off on What’s coming?

What’s coming?


The release of Francesca Dumas: White in New Orleans, a novella, at the end of September will be the next prequel to First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story.  Like James Darby, Francesca Dumas will be sold exclusively at  Get a FREE copy of Francesca Dumas when you purchase an ebook version of First Dark here. Or, purchase Francesca Dumas separately for only $1.99.

William E. Duke: Civil War Confederate Infantryman will follow in the fall and chronicle Billy’s exploits and those of his comrades in Thirty-eighth Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  William E. Duke will be the final prequel to First Dark.