On 27 October 2020 at the South Texas College of Law Houston, a petition [pdf 10mb] was presented to the Army General Counsel asking the Secretary of the Army to order the issuance of honorable discharges for all soldiers assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment who were convicted by General Courts-Martial in United States v. Nesbit, et al., United States v. Washington, et al., and United States v. Tillman, et al. in 1917 and 1918, and discharged from the Army under less than honorable conditions.
As part of a joint effort with the Houston chapter of the NAACP, students from STCL Houston’s Actual Innocence Clinic worked to research the three courts-martial and all 110 soldiers from this historic African-American “Buffalo Soldier” regiment. Although not endorsing any outcome, the Law Department at the United States Military Academy at West Point also contributed to the research effort. The STCL Houston special library collection contains the largest digitized records collection of these courts-martial and the events in Houston on 23 August 1917.
The National Institute of Military Justice believes that upgrading all 110 soldiers’ discharges to honorable characterization is an appropriate and long overdue first step. The Army should review this matter through the lens of its values, which have been enduring and founded upon honor, respect, integrity, and loyalty. True justice in this case would involve the modern Army’s recognition of the injustices that tainted these courts-martial and an acknowledgement that the Army itself did not uphold the standards of justice to which all soldiers are entitled by American military law. The Army has the ability to do justice and restore these soldiers to the colors that they served; they deserve no less.
The petition and more information is available on our Houston Clemency page (under topics/military justice). Questions can be directed to the authors of the petition, Dru Brenner-Beck, J.D., LL.M, LTC (Ret), and John Haymond, MSc, FRHS, MSG (Ret.), using the contact us link.
You can support this clemency petition on change.org
or by making a comment on the Army General Counsel’s post on the Dedication to African-Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
#remembercamplogan #reform #pardonme13 #insta11ations #Restorethe24th!