Vietnam War report titled “Discrimination in Administration of Military Justice” prepared for the African-American Commanding General of the 199th Infantry Brigade

[Vicinity of Saigon]: 15 October 1968. This eight-page mimeographed fact sheet with typewritten cover was prepared for the Commanding General of the 199th Infantry Brigade. It is dated 15 October 1968 and was written while the unit was responsible for defending the northern approaches to Saigon.

Its stated purpose was to “provide information and statistics on the imposition of punishment for offences in order to determine if the race of the accused is a factor.” The report makes no determination, nor reaches any conclusion; it simply provides factual statistics regarding the stockade population, non-judicial punishments, summary courts-martial, special courts-martial, general courts-martial, and eliminations.

The document is in nice shape. Very good. Item #008829

At the time this report was written, the Commanding General (CG) of the 199th Infantry Brigade was Brigadier General Frederick Ellis Davison, the third African-American general ever to serve in the U.S. Army and the first black general to ever lead white soldiers in combat.

Davison was truly beloved and respected by the soldiers of the brigade; he was a caring, but no-nonsense commander, who, when questioned by reporters, famously asserted that he was “not going to put up with black power, or white power, or yellow power, or red power.” Not surprisingly, Davison’s attitude kept racial tensions in the 199th relatively low when compared to other Marine and Army units in Vietnam.

It would be interesting to know why Davison asked his Staff Judge Advocate to prepare this fact sheet and even more interesting to know what use he made of it.

Davison had been the Brigade CG since fall of 1967 (initially filling the role while serving as the Deputy CG when his boss was hospitalized). The 199th, which was based at Long Binh was the only significant American unit in the vicinity of Saigon when the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army launched their Tet Offensive during the night of 30-31 January 1968. Davison’s reconnaissance patrols had earlier identified unusual activity in the area, and he had placed the brigade on the alert. Before the communist assault began, one of his regiment’s patrols encountered and destroyed a small enemy advance force and alerted the brigade that a major assault was imminent. When the Viet Cong attack came, Davison’s brigade decisively defeated the main assault and annihilated the 275th Viet Cong Regiment, killing over 900 enemy soldiers while losing only 19 men. Subsequently, the 199th attacked and destroyed the command post that had been temporarily established at the Phu Tho racetrack and then, house-by-house, cleared the western Saigon neighborhood of Cholon, which had been infiltrated by the Viet Cong.

No doubt Davison’s leadership prevented the Viet Cong from overrunning and occupying important South Vietnamese government offices. Exceptionally scarce.

As of 2018, there are no OCLC or auction records of any similar studies about possible racial disparities with regard to military justice conducted at the behest of an African-American combat general in Vietnam. Nothing similar is for sale in the trade.

Price: $500.00

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