JULY 20, 1950

Company G, 24th Infantry, heads to the front lines on July 18, 1950. Credit: Courtesy: U.S. Army Center of Military History

African-American troops of the U.S. Army’s 24th Infantry Regiment began the 16-hour offensive that enabled them to recapture Yechon, South Korea. For the U.S. forces, it marked the first South Korean city restored to friendly hands. 

Formed in 1869, the regiment had already played an important role in history, taking part in the important Battle of San Juan Hill in 1898. Despite their important victory in the Korean War, the regiment continued to battle prejudice and doubts among Army leaders. 

Army Pfc.William Thompson stymied an enemy attack while his platoon withdrew to safety. He died later from his wounds, becoming the first of two Congressional Medals of Honor to African-American soldiers in the Korean War. The second came when the regiment’s Sgt. Cornelius H. Charlton took over command of his platoon after its officer was killed and led repeated successful assaults against protected enemy positions. 

Although Army officials continued to ignore or discount such success, South Korean officials honored the regiment with its Presidential Unit Citation.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.