Article by Herman Fuselier, Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Born into a family of seven in 1931 in Crowley, Harry Jerry couldn’t attend college after high school graduation. Instead, Jerry stepped onto the pages of military history.
Jerry enlisted in the United States Army in 1950. The military was still racially segregated despite then-President Harry Truman’s executive order to end the practice two years earlier.
Jerry landed in the Korean War, a member of the 24th Infantry Regiment, an all-black unit created after the Civil War. Attached to the 25th Infantry Division, the regiment was one of the first combat units assigned to the Korean Peninsula.
Jerry was part of a machine gunner’s platoon thrown into the middle of the action.
“Korea was a hilly place,” said Jerry, 87. “We were on one hill. The enemy was on another hill.
“We’d give the rifle troops cover under fire. That was with .30-caliber heavy machine guns.”
As the nation celebrates Veterans Day 2018, Jerry lives in Opelousas with a small case of medals to recall his military service. He was a member of “Deuce Four,” the nickname of the black regiment that fought in World War I and II, the Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War and other conflicts.