Chapter X:
Physical Fitness
The physical fitness of the Negro population of military age was less decisive than Army General Classification Test scores in its effect upon the employment of Negro troops, but it was nevertheless a matter of major importance to the Army. As with mental and educational standards, changing physical standards for induction and employment often caused administrative and training complications in the absorption and assignment of Negro men. Physical fitness problems affecting Negro inductions, employment, and discharges were closely connected with the same factors which made educational deficiencies so important to Negro units.
Health and Inductions
Studies of the civilian health of Negroes conducted before the war had shown that Negro life expectancy was shorter than that of white Americans. Death rates were higher among Negroes than among whites. Illness rates were also higher.1 Poor health facilities in many of the areas from which Negroes came, poor economic circumstances which prevented many families from taking advantage of the medical and dental facilities that did exist, poor housing and inadequate diets which contributed to physical deficiencies, and cultural standards which failed to produce precautions and sanctions against social diseases were factors contributing both to higher death and illness rates for civilians and to those physical disabilities which resulted in high rejection rates for Negro registrants for military service.
All men inducted into the Army during the first half of the war were very largely free of serious physical defects. Sixty percent of the Negroes and 57 percent of the whites available for general service between November 1940 and December 1943 had no discoverable defects at all. Defects in the remainder were minor. Among limited service personnel, available for induction after June 1942, the major defects among white men were those of the eyes and teeth, while among Negroes they were the venereal diseases.
Negro men inducted for limited service (Selective Service Class I-B) constituted no large problem for the Army, for relatively few Negroes were accepted for limited service as such. The original experimental call in June 1942, designed to determine how well physically

substandard men could be absorbed by the Army for use on nonstrenuous duty, contained 800 whites and 200 Negroes. The next call, in August 1942, required 2,500 whites only. Thereafter, Class I-B was discontinued, physical standards were lowered, and limited service men were progressively reclassified I-A (immediately available) if they had no major disqualifying defects. At first 10 percent and, later, 5 percent of the men of each race accepted each day at each induction station could be limited service men. These color percentage quotas were dependent upon regular induction calls and acceptances by race. They therefore fluctuated considerably. At various times white limited service men up to 20 percent of the men accepted and no Negroes were called, with the result that, in 1943, 99846 white as compared with 4,184 Negro limited service men and, in 1944, 34,352 white as compared with 1,747 Negro limited service men were inducted. After May 1944, acceptance of limited service men ceased.2
Excepting the venereal diseases, all principal disorders among Negroes examined by local boards and induction stations occurred proportionately about the same number of times as among whites, with somewhat lower percentages of defects of eyes, ears, teeth, lungs, and the musculo-skeletal system among Negroes accepted and rejected than among whites. Figures on rejections could not always be compared with accuracy, nor could they be taken as a complete cross-sectional picture of the nation's health. The data on defects were based on 10 to 20 percent samples of available reports. They did not Include examinations of volunteers, Regular Army men, National Guardsmen, and others entering the Army outside of the Selective Service System. Nor did they report the health of deferred men. Physical standards and reporting systems varied, at times, from board to board and station to station. Complete listings of all disqualifying defects were not always reported by examining stations. Selective Service found that the tendency to record or summarize only the most serious defects of Negro registrants was especially marked. Therefore, the immediately disqualifying defects might be listed while less important disorders were ignored. While they might not give a complete picture of the state of selectees health, first examination reports did give a reliable accounting of the availability of manpower for immediate service. Since nearly all Negroes entered the Army through the Selective Service System, the Negro figures when taken alone had a higher validity as a gauge of Negroes availability; but since proportionately fewer whites entered through Selective Service, comparative figures were a less valid index to comparative racial health.3
The Venereal Disease Problem
The first two million serologic reports of selectees re-emphasized the importance of the venereal diseases as deter-

rents to the full use of American manpower. Unless some method could be found to reclaim and use venereals, many of whom were otherwise free of physical defects, a great body of potentially valuable manpower would be lost to the military services. The venereal diseases became, therefore, a major target for medical attack in preparation for and in prosecution of the war. The venereal diseases, though they were by no means the only physical factor involved, became the principal physical disability markedly limiting the military employment of Negro as compared with white manpower. Combined with educational deficiencies, they sharply reduced the proportions of Negro registrants initially available for general service. Primarily because of these two disproportionately frequent defects, over half of the Negro registrants examined, as compared with less than two fifths of the white registrants, were not eligible for general service on their first examinations.4
The problem posed for the Army by the high rates of venereal disease among Negroes was threefold. Venereal diseases complicated and slowed up, through deferments and rejections, the selection and induction of Negro registrants during the first years of the war. They caused a disproportionate loss of administrative, training, and duty time once Negroes were inducted. They placed a further strain on morale in the training and supervision of Negro units. The presence of venereal diseases bulwarked personal prejudices in the training and use of Negro troops. No amount of instruction in the nature of transmission of these diseases could overcome completely the aversion of most noninfected men to venereals. Nor did the circulation and posting of reports detailing the high rates of infection occurring in many Negro units aid in dispelling the notion, often alluded to in officers' letters requesting transfers, that Negro troops were personally careless and dirty.
At the beginning of mobilization, registrants with venereal diseases were rejected completely, although some cases of men with gonorrhea, the venereal disease most common and at the same time most difficult to detect by routine examination methods, did get into the Army.5 After March 1942, registrants with adequately treated syphilis could be inducted, but the criteria of adequate treatment were such that few registrants with a history of syphilis could meet them. Registrants with uncomplicated gonorrhea became available for limited service at the same time. In October 1942, men with uncomplicated gonorrhea up to 2 percent of each race at each induction station (later raised to 4 percent) could be inducted for general service. In December 1942, regulations were again relaxed, with the number of venereals accepted geared to the number of beds and rapid treatment facilities actually available in reception centers. It was March 1943 before enough treatment facilities became available to allow the Army to accept very many venereals and to treat them

before their assignment to regular training.6
The higher incidence of syphilis among Negroes was such that maintaining equal ratios of venereal inductions by race in the first months of 1943 did not allow a sufficiently rapid absorption of previously rejected Negro men. In August 1943, therefore, induction stations were authorized to accept Negroes with syphilis up to one third of the total Negro call. Nevertheless, on 1 April 1945, when all inductions were slowing down, it was estimated that 265,100 or 5-7 percent of all the 4,629,000 registrants aged 18-37 then in the rejected classes were syphilitics. An additional 18,400 Or 0.4 percent were so classified for other venereal diseases. Of these, over half in each category were Negroes.7
Those venereals who were inducted under the relaxed Army standards of 1943 were treated and cured of their diseases before entering regular training through the use of new rapid treatment methods employing sulfa drugs and, later, penicillin. Within Army units, therefore, the problem of venereal disease was very largely one of the prevention and control of new infections. While chaplains were free and in most commands were urged to stress moral principles and control through continence, the Army approached its prevention and control program from a practical medical point of view closely related to manpower economics.
Although Army control methods succeeded in keeping Negro military rates below those of the Negro civilian population, Negro units in a given area or command continued to account for disproportionate numbers and percentages of venereal infections. Until the treatment of uncomplicated cases on duty status became possible, Negro soldiers lost a large number of days from duty. During the first four months of 1942, when Negroes constituted 7 percent of the strength of the Southeast Air Force Training Center, they accounted for 42 percent of the center's cases. In the First Air Force for October and November 1942, when Negroes amounted to 11 percent of the command, they represented 40 percent of the cases. In September 1942 the 93d Infantry Division, with 107 cases (a rate of 99 per 1000 per annum) , lost 2,226 man days from duty, two and a half times as many days as any other division then under Ground Forces control.8 In light of the training difficulties of Negro units, excessive losses of duty time from venereal diseases augured no good if allowed to proceed unchecked.
The Antivenereal Disease: Campaign
The United States Public Health Service's campaign against venereal diseases, underway during the last half of the

thirties, had barely begun to affect the country's Negro population by 1940. Despite concerted efforts at education in the danger, prevention, and cure of venereal diseases, many Negro communities, lacking good health and medical attention generally, had not come to a realization of either the importance of or the possible treatments of venereal diseases. General sanitary facilities were often such that minimum venereal disease control at best was all that was possible. The names of the common venereal diseases themselves were often unknown. Unless the problem was discussed with soldiers in the more familiar slang terms, lectures on the dangers of syphilis and gonorrhea often made little impression. The sufferer from "bad blood" did not always connect his disorder with that which the lecturer was discussing. Often lecturers, with their charts and technical terms, failed to make their main points clearly, especially to slow learners. One officer found a soldier who admitted that he had had trouble using the chemical prophylaxis kit provided because he found it very difficult to swallow its white tube.9 Others confirmed the existence of cultural barriers to the full efficacy of the control program offered by the Army. Superstitions about the nature of venereal diseases were widespread. Among both white and Negro troops they acted as deterrents to educational programs, but Negro troops were the more likely to have learned that it is impossible to contract venereal diseases during the full of the moon or that drinking lemon juice was a sure cure for gonorrhea.10 Resistance to prophylaxis was high, furthermore, because of widespread beliefs that prophylactic measures and devices reduced virility. Reluctance to visit prophylactic stations was increased in many situations-where stations were located in or near police stations, where there was any question of their free use by Negroes, where they were located away from the Negro sections, or where they were so far from bus or train stations that the risk of missing transportation back to camp was sufficient to make a soldier go directly to the station rather than out of his way for prophylaxis. Moreover, the leading citizenry, Negro as well as white, in many towns either had little interest in or were reluctant to participate in venereal disease control measures. In some towns, it was difficult to find a location for a prophylactic station which was not objected to by the citizenry.11
Even in areas where the May Act had been invoked, Negro rates continued high. The May Act permitted federal intervention in the control of prostitution in areas around Army camps when local authorities were unable to act. 12 Organized prostitution, against which the May Act was primarily aimed, was rare among Negroes in most areas, but available and willing women were not. The control measures of the May Act were difficult to enforce where the free lance prostitute, the bar girl, and the woman described only as "friend" were

the major sources of infection. Even with well-planned precautionary methods, rates might remain high.
Despite its efforts at control, one engineer separate battalion located in a May Act area had twenty-four cases in five weeks out of an average strength of 1,185 men, giving the battalion a rate of 211 per thousand per annum. The twenty-four cases accounted for 277 man days lost from duty and training. This unit scheduled lectures by the battalion surgeon or exhibitions of venereal disease prevention training films twice a month. Company commanders lectured on sex hygiene once a month. Platoon sergeants also lectured once a month. For purposes of dispelling fear of prophylaxis treatment, demonstration prophylaxis was given in every squad of the organization. Mechanical prophylaxis kits were supplied to every man going on pass. Individual kits were given to each man going on overnight pass or furlough. Each man returning from pass was required to report to the dispensary and state whether or not he needed prophylactic treatment. The location of prophylactic stations was posted in every barrack. Posters advertising the value of prophylaxis were widely displayed. Passes were restricted as much as possible consistent with maintaining morale. And efforts were being made to provide sufficient recreation on the post to keep men away from the camp towns. Yet a number of factors limited the full success of this program. Following preventive instructions was not easy for the men of this battalion. In the largest of the nearby towns the prophylactic facilities were hardly adequate. The colored station, approximately one mile from the center of the Negro district, while accessible in the summer, was less so in the winter. The white station, more conveniently located in the center of town, had refused admittance to several men of the organization who had applied for prophylaxis, thus reducing sharply the number of potential applicants. After remonstrances, the white station began to take Negro soldiers "provided they are not obnoxious to local civilians." Despite the fact that the rate in the Negro organizations on the post was several times that of the white, the Control Board concluded, the preventive facilities, including recreational diversions, available for Negro soldiers were generally inferior to, and therefore less effective, than those for whites.13
Surveys elsewhere uncovered similar problems. Standard remedies in addition to venereal disease education programs became, first, cleaning up surrounding camp towns, and second, furnishing increased on-post activities in order to reduce the number of exposures.
With or without facilities that provided "wholesome" recreation for soldiers away from camps, most camp towns had enough of a tenderloin district to cause unit officers to despair of reducing their venereal rates. An officer of one Negro unit reported that conditions in the nearby camp town were "inimical to the efficiency, health, and welfare of soldiers." Prostitution was rampant in cafes in the Negro section; the restaurants themselves were "especially unclean." The officer reported:

As things go now a man going on pass has little to improve his morale. Buses are crowded. Hours may be spent to catch a bus. Our Negro troops are segregated in mixed buses. Little recreation is possible. Almost no good place to eat. At least one popular place is unsanitary. Vice is tempting. This puts the soldier in a complaining frame of mind. The latter is especially in evidence in relations with our soldiers and the Military Police . . . . [There is an] apparent lack of interest in the Negro section by the [town] administrative officers.14
In another town, most of the Negro houses of prostitution were located around the USO. The house across the street from the USO contained eleven girls, ten of them infected. Six of these had two diseases.15
In many towns, the Negro district was served by neither running water nor by a sewage system. This condition made simple sanitation difficult. It made the use of soap-impregnated prophylactic materials provided in Army kits almost impossible and certainly discouraging. In a few cases no hot water was provided in prophylactic stations, either in town or on post, with the result that soldiers would not use the stations.16 Under these circumstances, preventive instructions had little effect except among that portion of a command which heeded the advice to remain continent. Where recreational facilities were as limited as they were in many towns and on many posts, and where troops felt that release from frustrations and pent-up emotions was necessary at any cost, such advice was not often heeded for long.
The Fly Problem
A special problem was that which existed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, training home of the two Negro infantry divisions and, before that, of the old Negro cavalry and infantry regiments. Located in the Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona, Fort Huachuca had been a post since 1877- It had no camp town at all. The nearest towns were Bisbee, 35 miles away and 10 miles from the border; Douglas and Agua Prieta, 60 miles away on and across the Mexican border; Nogales, 65 miles away on both sides of the border; and Tucson, 100 miles away. Each of these towns, with the exception of Bisbee, was visited frequently by as large a number of troops as could get away on pass.17 Prostitution was rife in most of them, though Tucson and Douglas had relatively few Negro prostitutes and only a small resident Negro population. The Mexican towns, with their tourist attractions and their bordellos, usually lying just outside of the city limits, and therefore subject to little municipal control, were patronized generously by soldiers from Fort Huachuca. The welcome there was warmer than in the Arizona towns. In Nogales,

Sonora, for example, all but two dance halls and restaurants were open to Negro soldiers; they were "welcome to all the cantinas (bars) and cheap restaurants and particularly to the red-light district for which they represent its principal source of income.18 is Local fears, growing vice conditions, and mounting racial tensions gradually caused most of the Arizona towns, or major portions of them, to be closed at times to Fort Huachuca personnel. But the Mexican towns and the nearby unincorporated settlement of Fry, lying just outside the gates of the post, remained open. Fry offered, in exaggeration, all the allure, if none of the exotic glamor, of the Mexican towns.
Because it was surrounded by a desert with no nearby communities and because it was located in a part of the country with practically no Negro population, Fort Huachuca, since the days when it was a frontier post garrisoned with Negro soldiers of the old regiments, had considered Fry a quasi-necessary adjunct. White Arizonians, thinking of Fry as a safety valve, tended to agree. In Fry lived women. Some of them were employees of the post and some were members of soldiers' and civilians' families, but most of them-and sometimes the former were included in this number-were prostitutes and camp followers. As the post commander described it in 1942:
The small town of Fry is dirty, unsanitary and squalid. It has been so for many years. It was made worse in these respects (luring the construction of the cantonment when two or three thousand white laborers were employed here. During this period, when a much lesser number of soldiers was stationed here, the expulsion of prostitutes from Fry was directed by the Commanding General, Eighth Corps Area. A considerable number of prostitutes left, most of whom are believed to have drifted back in a short period of time. When the drive was on, soldiers, including N. C. O.'s, married a considerable number of prostitutes rather than see them leave. Some of this latter group are known to have continued to ply their trade. Following this action there was noticeable a restless and disgruntled attitude on the part of the soldiers which showed itself in various ways. White women in Fry became so alarmed with reference to their security that the unions at work on the cantonment threatened to have their laborers leave the job as they said they would not work where their families were not secure. I personally addressed mass meetings of these unions, guaranteed their families security and persuaded them to remain at work.19
As the numbers of laborers in Fry decreased, the number of soldiers on the post increased, leading the post commander to observe that the number of prostitutes in Fry had probably increased, too, "as a natural reaction to the law of supply and demand." 20 Many of them were transients arriving for a few days, renting or sharing a shanty, then leaving to return at a later date.
Venereal disease control was at best a difficult problem, but with a Fry and its Blue Moon area, made up of tin shanties, lean-to's, and tents inhabited by an undetermined number of camp followers, the problem of control at Fort Huachuca, especially after the arrival of large units,

became more difficult. Fry became widely known and discussed both at Fort Huachuca and elsewhere. The post commander admitted that, after considering several possibilities, his sympathies lay with retaining Fry in an improved and regulated form. He believed that repression of prostitution in Fry would be a danger to surrounding communities and to morale on the post. Moreover, scattering prostitutes in an area where there were no communities that wished to receive them would be most difficult. To the post commander there were but three solutions to prostitution in Fry:
a. What is in my opinion the best solution, is prohibited by War Department policy. That solution is: Definitely segregated areas which the Federal, State and County health authorities can control and outside of which no prostitution would be permitted. With such a system, infected women could be put out of circulation and treated and the military authorities could arrange for every man entering such a segregated area taking prophylaxis treatments.
b. The second solution is to let the prostitution situation drift along as I have found it and endeavor, with the cooperation of the Federal, State and County authorities, to arrange for the treatment of infected women and at the same time take every possible precaution by means of education, persuasion, and thoroughness in operations, to insure the greatest number of prophylactic treatments to men who become exposed.
c. The third solution, is to entirely eradicate prostitution in the town of Fry and other towns visited by soldiers and to prohibit soldiers from entering Mexico. It is believed that little good would be accomplished by prohibiting prostitution in Fry and permitting it to exist in other towns in the vicinity, including Mexico. Probably more harm than good would be done as we can control more definitely,
prophylaxis treatments at Fry that we can in other towns . . . .21
With the first solution not approved by the War Department policy and the third one not feasible, Fry was left with the military authorities taking "every possible precaution," though a version of the first solution was briefly tried. Toward the end of 1942, since neither county nor state officials had moved to repress prostitution in the area, post authorities, with the co-operation of local civilian authorities, moved the more notorious and easily detected prostitutes into a wire enclosure, carrying their shanties and tents bodily with them. This area, one of whose boundaries was provided by the post's fencing, became known as "The Hook." On the Fry side of the post all roads and paths from the bus station, the Gate theater, the USO clubs, and the Green Top, led directly to The Hook, whose gates, guarded by a military police checking station and a prophylactic station, the latter supplemented by another inside, saw hundreds of soldiers come and go daily.22
Meetings with residents of Fry were held in early 1943 at which it was explained that both the laws of Arizona and the May Act gave sufficient authority to close every place in town. At one meeting, where over a hundred residents were present, the post commander announced that the discussion was "not for those living a virtuous life with their family." Nobody left.23 He then ex-

plained rules for the registry, photographic identification, and weekly examination of every woman in The Hook. Nobody objected.
Fry and The Hook, with their new regulatory measures, came to the attention of other federal agencies and of civilian social hygiene associations. The regional Venereal Disease Control Committee, made up of representatives of the Army, Navy, U.S. Public Health Service, and the Federal Security Agency was less than satisfied with the Huachuca solution. At a meeting in Houston at the end of January 1 943, representatives of the American Social Hygiene Association and the Federal Security Agency complained that so long as all officials of the Mexican border cities knew that Fort Huachuca was "conducting a stockade" the Pan American Sanitary Commission could hardly hope to establish effective border control of venereal disease.24 Protests to the War Department that the post was violating Army directives brought action against the Huachuca solution. The Ninth Service Command, on orders from Army Services Forces, directed that Fort Huachuca stop using military personnel to control and examine prostitutes in Fry.25
The fences around The Hook were removed and repressive measures were again attempted. After the departure of the 93d Division in April 1943, many of the women residents left the area. Those remaining were ousted by the county sheriff in May. When, as part of the pressure against prostitution, one of the landowners in the area was persuaded not to renew his leases and rental contracts, thus forcing the users of the land to move, another landowner leased or sold new land to the camp followers, who picked up their tents and shanties and started a new settlement a short distance from the old. Others moved to nearby towns. The local USO and, later, the newly constructed Fry Amusement Center (the Green Top) helped matters, but Fry and vestiges of The Hook, still going under the same name, remained. To the new full-time post venereal disease control officer Fry seemed "the strangest situation in the American Army." No camp in America, he continued, had "vice and corruption at its front door" like Fort Huachuca. Venereal disease might become a secondary matter in Fry, he concluded. "Soldiers entering the huts in that area may well bring into this camp the most dreaded diseases of modern times. From a public health point of view, typhus, the plague and cholera loom a serious menace and an actual possibility." 26
After trying a number of other expedients, including the medical examination of all men entering or leaving it, Army authorities declared "the famous Hook area" and neighboring places off-limits to Fort Huachuca soldiers at "12 o'clock noon," Sunday, 22 August 1943.27 That afternoon the venereal disease control officer saw "unaccustomed thousands" of men in the stands

at the ball game and "countless hundreds" lined up in front of theaters. Fry was "all but a deserted village. Infected prostitutes in The Hook, whose pockets in the past have bulged, were fleeing the area by the scores." 28 Thereafter many of the women moved back to Fry, some returning to one or another house, others becoming transient, using local taverns and the Green Top as soliciting points.29 Some became mobile purveyors of their wares, cruising the surrounding area in automobiles, often with their mattresses tied to the tops of their cars.30
Nevertheless Fort Huachuca, relying on its compulsory prophylaxis system, with men ordered to check in and out of prophylaxis stations when leaving or entering post or Mexican border areas, supplemented by an intensive educational program and an extensive use of the off-limits power as main measures of control, did reduce its problem. The post's weekly Venereal Disease Bulletin, written with exceptional vigor and directness, was ordered read to all enlisted men at a formation before being posted on unit bulletin boards. The bulletin listed all new danger spots- local, on the border, and sometimes as far away as Memphis, Tennessee. Appeals made in the bulletin ranged from straight educational doctrine and the publication of comparative unit rates with honor rolls and black lists, through appeals to race pride, family honor, the future, religious considerations, and mere self interest, to sardonic attacks on the foolishness of the victim who, having been warned, continued to take his chances. Intensive and unremitting campaigns for the last six months of 1943 reduced the post's rate from ten times the Army standard to twice the standard at the end of the year.31 The service command's venereal disease control officer was able to write in November, "everyone up here is most pleased with the way things are going." 32
Fry was not alone among the towns which allowed relatively uncontrolled vice to concentrate, for much the same reasons, in their Negro districts. While the problem was not so large elsewhere, both because the number of troops was smaller and the isolation less, the absence of community, and at times of command, support for cleaning up camp towns was a frequent obstacle to control measures. Civilian Negro communities in general were reluctant to become involved in antivenereal or other programs which had connection, actual or implied, with local police and municipal authorities. "The answer," one Negro observer declared, "is racial fear and skepticism, which makes them want to be left alone and attend to their own business. In most things for community good they will tell you `I don't want to interfere' or `I don't want to be mixed up in it.' They want to stay hidden in the background and live a quiet life for themselves and family." 33 The resistance of Negro citizens to participation in venereal disease control

programs was overcome in a few communities, notably those with good general public health programs where the co-operation of white citizens and communities was available. Various devices to reduce the exposure risk among soldiers were tried. Appeals to race pride were common. One post bulletin, announcing a venereal disease campaign slogan contest for Negro troops chided, ". . . the Negro has excelled in every phase of warfare except the control of V.D." 34 The First Air Force issued a pamphlet, "Who, Me?" especially for Negro soldiers. At some posts the unit with the best record got a trophy for excellence; on at least one post, the unit with the worst got a booby prize-a handsomely mounted eight ball.35 Still others tried various systems of identifying non-prostitutes, with some areas of heavy incidence resorting to the use of "health cards," obtained from local physicians or clinics. At MacDill Field, Florida, all women visitors to the "Colored Area" of the field were required to have "V-ette" cards, obtained without charge at the Negro USO in Tampa. These cards, similar to those used for white visitors to the base, served as substitutes for passes issued by organizations. They were available after the local USO had checked several references and had ascertained that the applicant was in good health .36
The Tuskegee Program
None of these varied plans and improvisations worked so well as a program begun at Tuskegee Army Air Field, later prescribed for the Air Forces at large and, still later, in slightly altered form, for the Army as a whole. This program was essentially a combination of measures already in effect at other places plus some innovations which were to spell the difference between the success of the Tuskegee program and the failure of so many others.
Tuskegee, essentially a flying school with roughly 1,300 men in addition to cadets, found its venereal rate climbing steadily through the first half of 1942. The post was located in a high civilian incidence area near several other airfields and camps. As the military installations in the area expanded, infected women flocked to nearby towns where honky-tonks and dance halls offered easy pickings for the soldiers of Gunter, Maxwell, and Craig Fields, near Montgomery; Camp Rucker and Napier Field to the south; Fort Benning at Columbus; Fort McClellan, near Birmingham; and Tuskegee, halfway between Montgomery and Columbus and not too far from Birmingham and Atlanta.

Tuskegee's new venereal disease control officer, Maj. George McDonald, who had operated a successful municipal control program in Baltimore before entering the Army, found early that the simplest control measures- getting rid of infected women or of the places in which they were to be found- were not simple where Negro troops were concerned. "Some might argue," he told the Alabama governor's conference on venereal diseases, "that if we could get rid of the honky-tonks we would get rid of the chief meeting places of a large group of prostitutes. The answer to that was forcefully brought out to me during the beginning of our VDC Program. We found that fully 70 percent of all our venereal disease cases were contracted in Montgomery. We went to the Commanding Officer and seriously begged him to put Montgomery off-limits for our station. His answer was a question- 'Where else or what else have you got to offer in its place?' I must admit, I was stumped." 37
The Tuskegee program emphasized a system of "sub-venereal disease control officers" in addition to the usual program of films, lectures, and command discipline. The sub-venereal disease control officers were enlisted men, mainly noncommissioned officers, thoroughly trained in venereal disease control theories and practice. Each unit contained one or more such officers, supplementing the normal program. As enlisted men, these workers were able to uncover considerably more information concerning contacts in surrounding communities than the average commissioned officer could locate. Their lectures and discussions with groups of soldiers, plus pamphlets especially prepared for the men of the field, had greater effect than those of medical officers alone. Impetus to a reduction of rates was given by a periodic publication of the rates for each unit at the station, including comparisons with rates of other units and stations in the training center, thus enlisting both local competition and racial pride on the side of VD control. Communications from the post commander to unit commanders stressed their responsibilities for control as part of their over-all efficiency as commanders. Better planned and more frequent surprise physical inspections were instituted. Prophylactic kits were made readily available and demonstrations of their proper use were given frequently.38 Within a comparatively few months the Tuskegee program had reduced the station's rate from one of the highest in the area to one of the lowest-from 300 to 400 per thousand per annum in the summer of 1942 to 20 and 28 in October and November, with the rate at the Primary Field falling to a flat zero in those months.39
After his success at Tuskegee, Major McDonald was requested by the Army Air Forces to make a tour of airfields,

where he gave talks and demonstrations to Negro troops. At the same time, lie made supplementary reports on the venereal disease situation as it existed in the areas surrounding the fields visited .40 But, as he informed Army Air Forces headquarters when future lecturing trips were proposed for him, the amount of good coming from short term intensive work was purely temporary. To be of lasting value, a program had to be in operation day in and day out.41
In May 1943, a special school for the instruction of noncommissioned officers in venereal disease control as developed at the field was authorized at Tuskegee. Men were sent to the successive courses of this school from all over the Air Forces and many of the fields with smaller units began to obtain more effective results.42 Both the 92d Division and the post at Fort Huachuca instituted the sub-venereal control system in mid-1943, helping reduce the rates at Fort Huachuca for the rest of the year.43
After the courses at Tuskegee became generally available, upon application for quotas, to all Air Forces stations- and to other posts that requested attendance for their men-failure to make use of the Tuskegee method was regarded within the Air Forces as an indication of laxity in venereal disease control measures. Temporary schools, modeled on the Tuskegee curriculum, were set up both for white and for Negro students at other posts.
The Tuskegee plan was officially extended to the rest of the Army in expanded form after a conference on Venereal Disease Problems among Colored Troops, held by The Surgeon General on 13 October 1943. The new system of control, directed in February 1944,44 went further when it authorized a Negro venereal disease control officer for military installations with a Negro strength of 5,000 or more. This officer was to serve as an assistant to the station venereal disease control officer.45 His duties were: directing venereal disease education for colored personnel; securing contact information from infected colored soldiers; supervising prophylactic facilities for Negro personnel; and maintaining close liaison with the post special service officer in providing recreation for Negro troops.
Continuing and better educational aids were provided. Original educational materials had paid little attention to the Negro phase of the problem as such. New filmstrips included Negro materials as aids to recognition and awareness on the part of Negro troops; an

antivenereal disease film with Negro characters was produced. Pamphlet and poster material aimed at Negro troops, using Negro figures, were produced locally and by central distribution agencies.
Compliance with the directive to furnish Negro venereal disease control officers at the larger camps proceeded 
slowly, with many of the officers coming directly from the Medical Administrative Corps' officer candidate schools. The stations successful in lowering their venereal disease rates were those which developed continuing intensive programs. Specific responsibility for the Negro program vested in one individual as a full-time job brought best results. Differences observed between two camps some months after the publication of the new system illustrated the need for comprehensive, continuous programs. Both stations were located in similar environments. Although neither was currently operating at the 5,000 strength required for the appointment of a Negro venereal disease control officer, the more successful station had had a regularly detailed Negro technical sergeant-called locally the Health Educator-performing the duties of such an officer for approximately two years. The sergeant conducted intensive courses in venereal disease control for noncommissioned officers of new units, utilizing lectures, projects, and practical problems as teaching methods. Efforts of the post were aided by the existence of a good venereal disease control program as a part of the larger public health program of the county in which the post and largest camp town were located. Two organizations, both known as "The Health Crusaders," were an important link between the county health agency and the community. The local white Young Men's Business Club adopted venereal disease control as its main community program for the coming year. The town's Negro ministers were either co-operative or at least not opposed to the program. All hostesses and junior hostesses at the USO received instructions concerning the program. The local prophylactic station was an unusually well-run one, with Negro medical technicians on duty twenty-four hours a day. The only difficulties experienced at this post were an inability to obtain 100 percent use of the town dispensary by the men and an inability to obtain complete co-operation from some company commanders who, despite the offer of post assistance, remained lukewarm toward the program.46
The program at the second camp in the same general area was much more spotty and therefore less successful. At this post there was no continuing day in and day out stimulation by a specialist. Attitudes and efforts, unit by unit, ranged from "spirited execution to neglect and lack of cooperation on the part of company officers." One company officer, when asked about his unit's consistently high rate, told the visiting medical officer that he had never found himself unable to "write a satisfactory indorsement." The second camp, moreover, had less co-operative surrounding communities and less advantageously located prophylactic facilities. All three of the dispensaries maintained in the three nearby towns were used by

white and Negro soldiers, two of them with separate waiting rooms and none of them located near the Negro sections of the towns. A fourth area visited by the men of the post was the nearest large town, with two dispensaries, one for whites and one for Negroes. Both were unattractive, with dirt floors and inadequate space. Both were poorly located, with the Negro dispensary on the ground floor of the Negro USO building and the white station under a staircase in the rear of a police station. Both locations discouraged use. Attendants' hours at the Negro station were irregular, with the result that Negro soldiers complained of being refused by the white dispensary when their station was closed. The saving factor of the second camp's program was that the towns frequented by its soldiers had fewer venereal disease contacts than the town frequented by the soldiers of the camp with the better program. Consequently, the lower rates at the first camp indicated that providing "direct and active assistance to units on the company level [was] the most important deterrent to contraction of venereal disease and the resulting high rates." 47
The relatively more intensive measures of control needed for Negro troops were constant and additional burdens for commanders. Instruction and control was a continuing problem, both in training and overseas. Some commanders connected high venereal diseases rates with increased pay rates coupled with the low AGCT scores of Negro troops; some found in them confirmation of the inability of Negro troops to conform to standard mores and controls; and some viewed them as yet another example of innate differences between Negro and white troops. At times, therefore, the venereal situation among Negro troops helped bulwark initial resistance to the use and command of Negro troops, and especially to the use of Negro officers.
Specific instances reinforced this latter resistance in some units. Within a month of activation, one combat team of a division was faced with the problem of what to do about three Negro officers hospitalized for venereal diseases. The fact that one case was a "recurrence" of an old infection of eight years standing did not help matters. Aside from the necessary paper work and discussion of the proper procedures to be followed under new regulations and policies for dealing with venereal cases, the symbolic dangers of the situation to the division were clear.48 Their regimental commander later requested that the officers be transferred, as "the fact of [their] treatment is generally known among the officers of the regiment and in all probability among the enlisted men also . . . . It is believed the future usefulness of these officers in this regiment has been seriously impaired." 49 No matter what action was taken the damage to the division, especially in terms of relations between white and Negro officers and in terms of the respect of enlisted men for their Negro officers, had been done.

General Fitness for Full Duty
While venereal diseases, as recorded by race on statistical charts in reports, were dramatically evident problems among Negro troops, they were not the sole concern of unit commanders in the area of health. Though the Negro venereal rates remained high, the common complaint of commanders was not so much that excessive numbers of their men contracted venereal diseases, for the number of patients in a given unit at any one time was likely to be low despite the high rates indicated by the thousand men per annum count. The average unit was more likely to complain that the general physical fitness and stamina of its men was low.
If it is assumed that Army physical standards were adhered to at induction stations for both Negroes and whites,50 it is difficult to explain the apparently rapid physical deterioration of many Negro enlisted men after induction into the Army. A variety of factors- better dietary and sanitary surroundings than large numbers of Negro soldiers were accustomed to in civilian life, regulated physical exercise and development, adequate medical and dental care 51- should have, and undoubtedly did, raise the physical standards of many Negro soldiers. Yet the average Negro unit reported generally lower physical stamina among its enlisted men than the average white unit reported.
Occasionally suggestions were made that Negro soldiers, especially those from the Deep South, had lower resistance that might be attributed to chronic deficiency diseases. In the 4th Cavalry Brigade of the 2d Cavalry Division during freezing and subzero weather in the winter of 1942, there were over 200 cases of frostbite, ranging from minor freezing of ears, fingers, and feet to more serious cases. Eighteen serious cases, mostly of frozen feet, occurred in a single truck convoy of the 10th Cavalry en route from Omaha, Nebraska, to Fort Riley, Kansas. On the same occasion none of the thirty white truck drivers in the same convoy suffered frostbite. Moreover, during the same period in the remainder of the division, whose other components were white, there were only eight minor cases. Most of the Negro victims were from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Ignorance and faulty guidance on the part of troop leaders, ignorance or failure to obey orders on the part of enlisted men, or inability of troop commanders to obtain replacements of worn-out or lost items of clothing may have played their part, but the fact remained that

many more Negro than white soldiers in the same command suffered from frostbite under the same conditions. 52
Troops were generally less physically fit in the later years of the war when many men previously rejected were inducted into the Army. Progressively lower physical standards affected white units as well, but with a greater number of units in a given training command and a larger number of overhead installation position vacancies to which men rejected during preparation for overseas movement (POM) could be sent, the problem was less concentrated than among Negro units.
Moreover, in many Negro units large numbers of physically substandard men appeared long before the last phases of the war. As of March 1 943, less than a year after activation, the 93d Division had discharged 3,790 men- a full quarter of a division's authorized strength- for physical disabilities. Of these, 414 were discharged with certificates of disability, 155 through Section VIII procedures,53 and 3,221 through clearing field forces procedures for the physically unfit.54 Many other units complained of physically unfit men who either could not or would not pass the required physical tests. Many of these men were cast-offs shifted from unit to unit on successive transfers, becoming, as one training inspector expressed it, "one of a rotating pool, a border line case subject to conflicting medical opinion, [who] bounces around like a pellet in a pin-ball machine, because he represents a type that will do productive work only under constant supervision to say nothing of his contribution to the delinquency records."55 A company commander described the situation in his unit:
There are some men in this Company who should not be in the Army, from the way they walk. Whether it is done on purpose or not I do not know but some of them walk on the side of their heels. We have one man who says he has to be wet all the time, that he cannot stand the heat, and gets excited quickly. Some of them are being written up now by the Medical Officer for discharge.56
Of fifty filler replacements received at one post for use in committed units, twenty-five were physically unfit for overseas duty. One was blind in one eye with defective vision in the other; others had heart disease, high blood pressure, venereal diseases, or drug addictions. Granting that sending stations tended to adjudge men more highly qualified than receiving stations did, this was a case requiring explanation. The surgeon of the sending station declared that these men were examined at his station and at general hospitals; they were believed to be eligible for full duty. Physically perfect men were becoming scarce, he remarked, and added: "It must be remembered that the type and class of

colored soldiers now being inducted is not what one would desire." 57
A case might be made that some of the men in units, casual pools, and detachments who were considered physically unfit did suffer from disabilities aggravated by military training and service or that, as physical standards were changed, men with limiting disabilities were brought into the Army too freely. During mid-1943, when reclassifications out of Class IV-F (physically or mentally disqualified) were at a peak, proportionately more Negroes than whites were shifted from IV-F to classes eligible for induction. Twenty-three percent of the men placed in Class IV-F during this period were Negroes, but 36 percent of those leaving IV-F for induction were Negroes. Many of these men had previously been rejected under higher physical standards; others had been administratively rejected as being in excess of permitted quotas of limited service men, syphilitics, and illiterates which the Army could accept.58 One officer, observing large numbers of them, commented: "These men, having been told they were unfit several times before, believe they are still unfit for military service and spend much of their time attempting to convert the Army to their point of view." 59
Willfully or otherwise, the mental attitudes of these men played a large part in their low physical state. By the end of 1942 nearly a third of the patients on medical wards at Fort Huachuca were already exhibiting signs of combined mental and physical illnesses, heightened, one observer felt, by contacts with other patients which produced a monotonous repetition of similar "simple patterns of psychogenic symptoms." The report specified:
About 30 percent of the patients occupying beds assigned to the medical service had psychogenic symptoms produced by the desire to get out of the Army. These symptoms were seldom referrable to the emotional or intellectual sphere and thus complicated psychoneuroses were rare. A few patients had neuro-circulatory asthenia. The majority complained of sticking pains at the left nipple, pain in the chest, shortness of breath on exertion and pains in the legs. A few complained of nervousness and would begin to shake for the examiner's benefit. The remainder complained of back pain, pains in the extremities, or of pains in old surgical wounds or in scars of injuries or in old injuries all of which had been dormant for years before induction. Thus the heart, the back and the extremities, or old scars and injuries were the loci to which the primitive minds projected the symptoms born of a desire to escape.60
Few of these patients, even when they had only minor difficulties that were not sufficient to make further combat training unprofitable, showed any desire to keep up with training.
Though medical officers could seldom find cogent reasons for the poor physical condition of many of the complaining men, they were equally unsuccessful in any significant number of cases in proving willful shirking of tasks requir-

ing physical endurance. Many unit officers and some medical officers were nevertheless convinced that malingering, and not physical disorders, was the answer to the complaints of many of the soldiers. In the absence of proof of malingering or of medical reasons for transfer or discharge, the "sick men" became liabilities to their units. "Malingering is about to run me crazy," one infantry battalion commander commented. "There are entirely too many 'cripples'-men complaining of . . . 'hurting' in de grine and . . . misery in de back.' You take them over to the medics. The medics may say they're all right, but they'll continue their limping. You don't know what to do with them." 61 One of this officer's company commanders declared:
You may watch most any company coming off the field and you'll see a line of from five to twenty-five stragglers or `cripples.' They will fall out on the march, go over and sit under a mesquite bush, laugh and talk, and yell at other men to come and fall out with them. They are by no means whipped; they have stamina left. But they have not the pride in themselves as men and soldiers to go ahead and finish the march.62
Other commanders were similarly convinced that many complaints of physical disabilities were willful evasions of duty or were faked to avoid passing inspections for overseas readiness-a certain indication of low unit and individual morale where it occurred.
One service commander observed of the men in a battalion which had already been twice rejected for overseas service:
Recently, one of my inspecting officers, who had so far not appeared at that particular unit, was mistaken by my colored friends for one of General Peterson's inspectors. About five or six of them promptly told him reasons why they were not fit for overseas duty. Five of them claimed they had physical defects. A couple more of them had never fired their weapons. They, of course, were promptly checked. The five had never appeared on sick call. They were re-examined and found to be excellent physical specimens. The other two men had certainly fired their rifles, and had done very well, incidentally.63
Some camps separated the chronic complainers into special casual or "ZI" units in order to minimize their effect on other soldiers. Some of these special units grew large toward the end of the war; others, aided by a supervised change in mental outlook, had a remarkably high percentage of restorations to physical fitness. A training center commander reported his experience with the latter:
I had a lot of trouble with the people that were basically malingerers. The thing I was most concerned with was that they were like bad apples in the barrel. Every time one of them went along chinning himself on the ground, he got the other fellows feeling bad, and they got to going around the same way . . . . Every time I
saw a malingerer, I grabbed him up. I set up a rest camp or special training camp for them at a mountain about 35 miles west. It is up at an elevation of 8300 feet, 35 miles from the nearest road or railroad. We told them there were a lot of bears in the mountains, too.

I obtained a medical officer, a psychiatrist, a dietitian, and a physical trainer that Colonel McDonald [station hospital] hired for me, and sent them all up there for perfect service. If a man had a bad arm, he got exercises all day long, especially prescribed to develop the arm. Most of the fellows were very bad off. If it was a bad leg, they got leg exercises; if it was their backs, they got back exercises; all prescribed by a professional physical trainer. If they had too many pains, that probably were caused by acid in the system-too much meat-they got a special diet-and they did not get pork chops.
We put the lights out at nine P.M., so they had plenty of sleep. They needed their rest, so they got it. I made quite a few cures. We have run about 900 men through there so far, and the system has proved fairly fruitful. It worked out well.
The people I have down in the main camp now are doing all right. I get very few of these sick ones any more, and Saturday before I came down here, I was able to close the rest camp . . . .64
But not all commands were so successful in dealing with the physically unfit. The 92d Division in July 1944, after the departure of its 370th Combat Team for Italy, and on the eve of its own movement to a port of embarkation, still had 1,700 men who were not physically qualified for combat, many of them POM rejects of the 2d Cavalry Division, the 364th Infantry, the 366th Infantry, and half a hundred other miscellaneous units.65 How these men got into the division was not always clear. Some of them had come on orders issued by neither Fourth Army nor by Army Ground Forces. But that they were men culled from other units was abundantly clear. Many, upon arrival, had already been classified as physically unfit for full service. As the division prepared for overseas movement, the number of such men showed signs of growing larger. By August it had reached 2,000. A covey of colonels, white and Negro, including a medical officer, some from Fourth Army and others detailed by Army Ground Forces from Washington and from other field units, descended upon Fort Huachuca to investigate, assess the situation, and make recommendations.
They found that the division had received, in the preceding twelve months, 6,242 enlisted men from 61 other organizations. In the same period it had sent out to other organizations 2,243 enlisted men as replacements. The division had sent out better men than it had received. Its casual detachment, despite discharges and the arbitrary return of to percent of the men to each organization, was filled with unfit men. Most of them had been tried in as many as three position vacancies within the division. Upon discovery, on marches or maneuvers, that they could or would not keep up, these men were given medical examinations. The casuals were of two general types: Class C and D men, medically certified to be in the poorest physical condition and therefore eligible for clearance from tactical organizations; and "Q-minus" men, medically qualified personnel who nevertheless failed to pass physical tests. Of the 2,272 men reported to be in this camp by the Fourth Army, about 950 were rated Class "Q-minus."
The casual camp, separate and at some

distance from the division area, was self supporting as to messing, housing, and administration, though the men were still carried on their organizations' rolls. No training was given them, but they did furnish their own and some division details. They required additional officer and noncommissioned officer Supervisors, but nevertheless until the first week of August there was insufficient leadership personnel to exercise full discipline and control. "Generally these men moved slowly to their assigned tasks, dragging or limping as their illness, feigned or real, dictated," one of the investigating colonels reported, "If `allergic' to wearing helmet liner, shoes, leggings, belts, they were required to carry them along wherever they went." 66 One result of this policy was described by a group of observers:
The men were observed to form ranks slowly. Some of them carried their helmets instead of wearing them, others carried their shoes instead of having them on their feet, wearing low cut shoes instead, and some were carrying chairs, suit-cases, and other impedimenta. Many of the shoes were cut open over the toes or were unlaced. Some of the men wore no socks. The men did not march in cadence. Many of them limped and some were stooped or bent at the waist.67
Placing the potentially reclaimable with the actually unfit aggravated the problem to such an extent that it was doubted that any of these men were by then of future value to the Army. Observed one of the inspecting colonels:
The retreat formations where these men are allowed to move at will to the parade ground, instructed to sit down in formation if they can not stand and to move back to their areas at will . . . is a spectacle that is not only devastating to morale, but is giving aid and comfort to these men in their beliefs of being physically unfit, and from which, it will be most difficult for theta to recover.68
Said another:
When the men present marched off the field, all took up a peculiar, shuffling gait of a nature which the undersigned has never before seen. It was beyond the possibility of any coincidence that all men in ranks should be so afflicted as to be unable to march off the field at a gait faster than about one-half mile per hour.69
Officers, medical and line, white and Negro, were often convinced that many of these men were physically fit and that they should not be discharged but made to work at non-combat assignments, preferably overseas, for the good of the morale of the rest of the 92d Division. "This Casual Detachment now constitutes a menace to the morale of the Division," one medical officer declared:
Right now we are having trouble in preventing men with hitherto good records from going over to join it. I believe it would be a mistake to discharge this large

number of men as undesirables; neither should they be assigned to soft jobs. It is true there are some borderline physical cases, which can and should be sorted out, by more careful examination. The great majority of these men are malingerers; they should be forced to do duty involving some hazard and hard work . . . . It is too bad the division did not proceed direct overseas at the end of maneuvers.70
Unproved but persistent rumors that these men, when on pass or when visiting nearby Fry where they were no longer under the surveillance of officers, were quite able to move with an alacrity and ease markedly absent during duty hours lent further support to these views. There was no suggestion that general medical care at Fort Huachuca was not of the best; reports on this camp throughout the war commented on the excellence of the medical equipment and staff at its two hospitals. 71
While there were differences of opinion on the number of men who were true malingerers, all observers agreed that physical and mental ills were combined in the cases of many of these men and that grouping them together had made their ills, real or fancied, a fixed part of their behavior. All had taken on the liabilities of the others, magnifying their own disabilities in the shadow of the continuing complaints of their neighbors. The investigating officers' conclusions ranged from a belief that the physical disability of these men would be difficult to determine to estimates that from t o to 85 percent of the men were consciously malingering.
Since so large a proportion of the men in this casual camp had had one or more venereal diseases, it occurred to some that residual infections might be at the root of the problem. "I was definitely assured by the Division Surgeon," an observer reported, "that this was not the case. He pointed out that the type[s] of cases to which I referred were in all cases proper cause for discharge from the service, so that this source of disease could be eliminated from our consideration in regard to this personnel." 72
That many of the men chronically complaining of their physical inability to perform normal duties were suffering from more than the elementary physical disorders of which they complained was undoubtedly true. One Army psychiatrist, writing on the general problems of maladjusted soldiers, both white and Negro, indicated that "It is remarkable that the clinical picture in maladjusted soldiers is almost stereotyped. The pattern may be compared with schizoid reaction types. His behavior is marked by a more or less manifest hostility to the Army, a feeling of ill health, and an inability to perform duties or get along with fellow soldiers." Among the case histories which he cited were the following:
A 25 year old Negro recently inducted complained of pains and stiffness in his back following a spinal tap at induction. In addition, he had difficulty in breathing with his gas mask on. He had feared entry into the Army because he had heard that he would be mistreated and probably shot if he came to a Southern Camp. After

being in the Army for 3 months and finding everyone friendly he felt better, and had less pains in his back. He was transferred to the Special Development Unit but after two weeks he was complaining of weakness of his bladder which he blamed on cold weather.
A 33 year old colored soldier [had] complaints of pains in the chest . . . . He had innumerable conflicts because of a prejudice concerning his own race. He felt that he was quite a bit better than most other negroes. At the same time, discrimination bothered him. He was not able to get along well on his Post with other soldiers since he felt superior to them and it bothered him that he had to live with them or was treated in the same way. At the time of his examination he was assigned to work on a salvage truck. This work evidently did not satisfy him. This was in contrast to the real situation, since in civilian life he never had much of a job.73
Few units were equipped to deal properly with men whose physical ills had a psychological basis. But that all men who had been transferred to casual detachments as physically unable to keep up with their units' training should have been so disposed of was also questionable. Some organization commanders had used the existence of casual detachments as a means of getting rid of men who, with better training, might have
been able to come up to performance standards. Once the men were shunted to casual detachments progressive deterioration set in.74
The disposition of the physically unfit devolved upon the service commands as units moving overseas transferred their substandard men. With few overhead installation vacancies and with increasing complaints from training centers that the Negro soldiers being received from ground unit transfers were usable neither in technical units nor in those performing heavy labor, the service commands were at a loss to absorb these men. While discharge provisions had been liberalized, there were no provisions for the discharge of men classified physically fit for general service. Moreover, there were not enough zone of interior assignments to absorb the genuine limited assignment Negro personnel gathering in service command installations.
The Army eventually disposed of most of these men through a new procedure which authorized the discharge of all enlisted men below the minimum physical standards for induction for whom no suitable assignment was available.75 When added to the prevailing means of discharge for physical or mental disability, inaptness, undesirable habits or traits of character, conviction by a civil court, and convenience to the government, the route for discharge of most surplus men, including the excess of physically unfit Negroes, was open. During the war years, discharges as physically and mentally unfit accounted

DECEMBER 1941-MAY 1945
Year Honorable Other Than Honorable e Transfer To Inactive Status "Less Over 28" Total Separation
Physical and Mental Disquali- fication a Misc (Honorable) Over 28; Overage; Retired b
Total 131,221 15,639 13,222 8,202 168,284
(Percent) (77.9) (9.3) (7.9) (4.9) (100.0)
1941 (December) 276 24 18 50 368
1942 5,497 169 427 127 6,220
1943 51,807 13,062 2,889 7,049 74,807
144 58,824 1,530 7,546 845 68,745
1945 (Through May) 14,817 854 2,342 131 18,144
a- Includes certificate of disability and inaptness or neurosis.
b- Includes non-Army commissions, to enter USMA, USNA, and USCGA, minority, dependency, importance to national health, safety or interest, and others.
c- Includes undesirable habits, misconduct, and concealment of desertion, or discharge other than honorable. Dropped from the rolls, resulting from AWOL, not included in separations.
d- All figures exclude battle and non-battle deaths, missing, prisoners of war, interned, declared dead, separated to accept Army commissions, and demobilization discharges.
    Source: Strength of the Army, 1 Jul 46, STM-30.
for more than three fourths of all Negro separations, excluding casualties, demobilization separations, and discharges to accept commissions.76 (Table 8)
Nevertheless, in the summer of 1945 the problem of the disposition of "leftover" personnel medically declared fit for service still remained. From Fort Huachuca alone, between five and six hundred men, described as individuals "who would not work and who would not let anyone else work" had been organized as a provisional ordnance company and sent to Umatilla Ordnance Plant, Oregon, where they were found to be "entirely unsatisfactory." They were returned to Fort Huachuca by the Ninth Service Command for disposition. Some 185 more were due in from a California station. Four disposition teams were busily engaged at the station hospital examining these men.77
The problem of physical fitness, with the venereal diseases as its constant component and with physical and psychological deterioration an increasingly widespread phenomenon in units, was clearly a major one in the employment of Negro troops in World War II. It played a continuous and distinctive role, both in the selection and in the later use of Negro manpower by the Army. It slowed up training. It impeded the preparation of Negro units for overseas movement. It consumed disproportionate time on the part of commanders and of medical and personnel officers. And throughout the war it affected another and even more difficult problem to assess-the general morale and motivation of Negro troops and units.


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