93rd Regiment

A History of Segregated Engineers

The armed services of the United States expanded as fast as possible during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.  Few among the country’s civilian and military leaders doubted that war was imminent.  Among thousands and then tens of thousands of new recruits who poured into the Army were thousands of black men, and these segregated soldiers presented special problems.

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93rd Military Personnel

The segregated troops of the 93rd Engineer Regiment built 240 miles of the Alcan Highway.  They felt that their work did not receive any public recognition in comparison with that of other units on the highway.  The enlisted soldiers wanted their friends and family to read about what they were doing and how their outfit was making an important contribution to the war effort.   Lt. Col. James L. Lewis, 93rd Regimental Executive Officer, wrote in a letter “that the failure of correspondents to visit their portions of the road or to mention them in their articles had a bad effect on morale and espirit de corps of the individual soldier and his regiment.”

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93rd Route

On April 12, 1942, the 93rd Engineers boarded five trains and left Camp Livingston, Louisiana in the early afternoon.  They arrived at Camp Murray, Washington on April 16.  From the 15th to 25th of April, three ships transported the regiment through the Alaska panhandle up the fjord to dock at Skagway Harbor in Alaska.   At Skagway the 93rd and the 340th Engineers formed a partnership in building the road.  The end of April, the 93rd rode the narrow gauge railroad over White Pass to Carcross, Yukon.  This was their mile 0 on a route that led north to Whitehorse and south to Teslin and Lower Post.

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Ordinary Men Build A Legendary Road