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In late September 1950, two months after the beginning of the Korean War, the commander of the 25th Infantry Division, Major General William B. Kean, requested that the Eighth Army disband the all-black 24th Infantry regiment because it had demonstrated that it was "untrustworthy and incapable of carrying out missions expected of an infantry regiment."

Thus began a controversy that has continued to this day. Critics of the regiment have charged that the 24th was a dismal failure in combat. The African-American veterans of the organization and others, meanwhile, have contended that the unit did far better than its critics would concede and that its main problem was racial prejudice.

For a while, with the integration of the Armed Forces, the talk on both sides largely disappeared, but when the U.S. Army's official history of the Korean War, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, authored by Roy E. Appleman, appeared in 1961, it reignited the controversy by publicizing the background of Kean's charges. During the late 1970s, as a result, a number of individuals began an effort to persuade the Army to revise its history to reflect a more balanced view of the performance of the regiment. In 1987, the Secretary of the Army, John O. Marsh, Jr., directed that the U.S. Army Center of Military History undertake a study of the subject. This history is the result.