A Vietnam War Platoon Sergeant Reflects On Jim Crow, Integration, And Commitment to Serve

Fred Foggie


Fred Foggie grew up in Detroit, Michigan, when the Motown sound was just emerging. He remembers the 1945 race riot in Detroit on “Black Monday,” and learned from his uncle to “be fair-minded.” The first time he experienced racism was when he jumped a train to Toledo, Ohio, but ended up in Louisville, Kentucky, and saw his first “whites only” water fountain. As a boy, he sold newspapers and delivered milk. In 1953, he joined the Army. After basic training and airborne school, he was posted to Ft. Bragg, but soon joined the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team in Beppu, Japan. When he returned to the states, he initially reported to Bragg, but later traveled to Ft. Campbell, where he joined the 101st Plans Group as the 101st Airborne Division was being reactivated as a Pentomic Division in 1956. Later, he deployed twice to Vietnam. The first time, he was a Platoon Sergeant in C Company, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry in the 9th Infantry Division until he was wounded on February 7, 1967. He volunteered for his second deployment, and served with the 5th Infantry Division before joining CORDS Team 39. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, including selling milk to his school-mates, and accidentally ending up in Sumter, South Carolina, after an epic “hobo ride” on a freight train. He provides a detailed look at the reactivation of the 101st Airborne Division, and a comprehensive description of Colonel George Forsyth. He describes his two deployments to Vietnam, highlighting his need to return to combat after his first tour was cut short when he was wounded. Finally, he recalls deploying to Little Rock in 1957 for school desegregation, and the discussion he had with his commander about why he was not posted outside the school to help keep the protestors back.


name Fred Foggie
service Infantry
unit 101st Plans Group (Reactivation Phase)
specialty Reactivation of the 101st Airborne Division
service dates 1953 1973