The Ash Warriors

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sion of the civil rights injustices African Ameri-        Printing Office). Available free at http://
cans fought at home” (p. 86).                   
    Stur observes that in 1967 only 39 percent of         fulltext/PACAF_PINATUBO.pdf.
the black male population was eligible for the
draft as compared to 63 percent of the white male          In his first published book, Col C. R. Anderegg,
population, yet 64 percent of the eligible black       USAF, retired, builds a compelling chronological
males were drafted as compared to only 31 percent      detail of Clark Air Base’s last days during the
of the eligible white males. According to Stur, a      eruption of Mount Pinatubo. With a gift of forth-
knock on any door in any black community               right storytelling, Colonel Anderegg pieces to-
would reveal someone with a son, nephew, or            gether the elements of Clark’s plight nicely,
cousin in Vietnam. The unfair draft affected not       documenting his own firsthand testimony and
only the men who served but also the families          interviewing 100 eyewitnesses in this scholarly
they left behind. Some families had multiple sons      work.
as well as father-son and brother-sister combina-          Originally published in 2000 by Pacific Air
tions serving in the war. Other families may have      Force’s history office and reprinted in 2005 by
had several generations committed to the war.          the Air Force History and Museums Program,
    In “As I Recall . . . ” Samuel W. Black contends   this book, though certainly a historical record,
that the Vietnam War and the Korean War dif-           offers the reader much more. (By the way, for
fered from previous military engagements in            any additional printings, I would recommend
that they were the first ones fought with an inte-     adding a subtitle to clarify its contents, such as
grated armed force, but the latter war was fought      The Ash Warriors: How One Base Responded to
with greater civil and constitutional rights in so-    Volcanic Disaster.)
ciety for African-Americans. The black military            I particularly enjoyed reading about the inge-
man went beyond the quest for full citizenship;        nuity of our Airmen, evident in the security
blacks now wanted a redefined patriotism.              force’s employment of the F-4 infrared pod to
    Soul Soldiers is a must-read text that provides    detect thieves and lava flows at night. In addition,
an in-depth assessment of the military experience      the author includes compelling stories of how
of African-American men and women. The in-             the use of swimming goggles in the ash storms
stallments were written by persons with impec-         and backup brick radio generators saved lives.
cable credentials; each section is well written,       The sometimes uncomfortable stories intrigued
thoroughly documented, and superbly illustrated.       me by highlighting the volatility and devastation
    The study nevertheless offers a revealing          of the situation. Water shortages forced members
commentary of American society. It shows the           of one family to drink from their water bed and
continuation of the legacy of the separate-but-        others to shower unabashedly in the middle of a
equal tenets of the Plessy decision of 1896 de-        Philippine rice paddy. These incidents personal-
spite the signing of Executive Order 9981 by           ized the hardships of Clark’s residents.
Pres. Harry S. Truman to desegregate the armed             The author makes an effort to dispel widely
forces in 1948 and the role Truman’s order             dispersed rumors and misconceptions that arose
                                                       during the confusion of evacuation both before
Description: [...] Anderegg reminds readers of the great leadership at Clark and Subie Bay during the eruption and coinciding hurricane, both of which sealed the fate of all military personnel in the Philippines. Should Mount Fuji (currently classified as an active but low-risk volcano) ever erupt, commanders at Yokota Air Base would face the same sort of situation that confronted their counterparts at Clark- coping with a foreign government and large noncombatant evacuations. [...] The Ash Warriors also serves as a valuable case study for support commanders or emergency-management personnel.
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