New York State Office of General ServicesNew York State Office of General Services -
The Vietnam Memorial Gallery
About the Exhibit
Authorized in 1913, the 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th Infantry of the New York National Guard, was the first African American regiment of the New York National Guard. Having no prior combat experience, the regiment based in Harlem consisted of African American men from all over New York State and Puerto Rico.
After serving 191 days of combat in France, longer than any American regiment of World War I, the German army nicknamed the soldiers “Hellfighters” due to their actions on the battlefield. Facing discrimination at home and possessing a passion to demonstrate their worth as an African American military regiment, the 369th transformed into an accomplished unit—one whose legacy left an indelible mark on music and cultures worldwide.
This legacy has had a lasting impact on African Americans’ participation in impending conflicts post-World War I; especially notable is the Vietnam War which officially marked the first-time African Americans served in fully integrated combat units.