Skip to comments.Group's leader says saving officers club saves piece of western history
Posted on 06/09/2006 7:23:02 PM PDT by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA Americas history has been defined and shaped by what happened in the Old West.
Part of that record was due to the achievement of black soldiers who help protect settlements in places such as Southern Arizona, Tom Stoney said Wednesday during the monthly luncheon hosted by the Greater Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerces Military Affairs Committee. And part of the story of the Buffalo Soldiers legacy needs to be saved, Stoney said to nearly 90 people. That can be done by ensuring the World War II black officers club on the post remains, he told nearly 90 people Wednesday.
Stoney, who heads the Southwest Buffalo Soldiers Association, outlined the contributions of the black soldiers, who came out West after the Civil War. The units led by white officers were engaged in fighting Indians. The main black units during that time were the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry.
Stoney drew laughter from the audience when he talked about being a young boy who went the movies to watch westerns.
Even in the school playground, the boys played cowboys and Indians, making the sound of horses snorting. When recess was over, he and others would run back to the classroom as if they were still on their steeds, snorting away.
One teacher would yell out, You boys leave your horses outside.
The West is where black soldiers proved themselves, even though those of his race had taken part in every conflict from the Revolutionary War on.
There continues to be discussion as to how black soldiers earned the title Buffalo Soldiers because of their hair, the greatcoats they wore or their fighting abilities.
Stoney has a favorite reason. Indians knew buffaloes would fight if cornered and so did black soldiers. Fighting tenaciously is the way he sees the way the honor of being called Buffalo Soldiers came about.
Although the name was originally attached to soldiers of the 10th Cavalry, it has been give to all blacks who have served.
Two black infantry divisions the 92nd and the 93rd trained on the fort during World War II. One went off to combat in Europe, while the other went to the Pacific.
Fort Huachuca was rapidly built up, with 1,400 wooden structures to handle the large amount of soldiers.
One of those structures was built as a club for black officers.
The old Mountain View Colored Officers Club, unused for years, is currently deteriorating. The association is attempting to save it and is working with post and Army Corps of Engineers officials to that end, Stoney said.
The club was the site where famous black entertainers of the 1940s visited to put on shows for black soldiers.
We need your help. We need your support, Stoney said. This building must live on. Its got a story to tell.
HERALD/REVIEW senior reporter Bill Hess can be reached at 515-4615 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preserving a piece of History in the West
Cool story. I'd gladly donate to this cause.
Contact Bill Hess and he'll get you with Stoney to help save the club.
Mountain View Black Officers ClubSierra Vista, Ariz. - Parade Magazine
High on a hill overlooking Fort Huachuca Army base in Sierra Vista, Ariz., sits a dilapidated building that once echoed with the sublime song stylings of Lena Horne during World War II. She came to entertain the black troops at the Mountain View Black Officers Club, built in 1942 by the then-segregated Army for its growing number of black soldiers.
A plan to preserve that building and turn it into a black military research center is now being backed by the Arizona Preservation Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The driving force behind the plan: Retired Army 1st Sgt. Tom Stoney Sr., a combat veteran of Korea, and the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers, a black veterans group.
Stoney is working to raise the estimated $3 million needed to save and convert the club. Those men and women put up with indignities in the segregated Army and served with honor, says Stoney. This building must tell their story.
There have been several similar stories posted over the years:
'Major Dtep' to save bldg#66050, originally the Mountain View Black Officers Club, on Ft Huachuca