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Blood for Dignity tells the story well

Readers of World War II Magazine received an unexpected treat in the November 2006 issue.

The story is told about the black soldiers who served in the infantry as riflemen during WWII.

Frank and Flo Smollon shared the story with the Checkerboard. Well known in the 99th, the Smollons have attended many conventions.

Frank also keeps busy helping other veterans with claims and information about the VA.

He said he was not aware that the 99th had "fifth platoons" until he read the magazine article. K/394 and K/393 each had a black fifth platoon.

The article is well-written and generously illustrated. The 99th receives a great deal of recognition.

Lt. Richard Ralston of K/394 was the first white officer to command a black platoon. He said his men needed some infantry training but served well in combat.

The fifth platoon of K/393 won an award as "one of the best platoons in the regiment," according to the article.

The story includes photos of the men in K/394 fifth platoon. James Strawder who attended many 99th meetings is not only quoted but his photo is printed with the story.

A photo of CSM Wayman Robinson was taken during his retirement ceremony after 30 years of service in 1970. On his right shoulder is the Checkerboard patch. He served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

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