This week, I had the honor of participating in the release of the USACE Office of History’s latest publication, Nothing But Praise: A History of the 1321st Engineer General Service Regiment.
This book sheds new light on the role of African American engineers during World War II, and in the process, it enriches the history of the entire Engineer Regiment. It chronicles the distinguished wartime service of the 1321st Engineers, which was one of many segregated African American units during the war.
Often operating under adverse conditions, African American engineers played key roles in completing some of the Army’s most difficult construction projects. The 1321st Engineers deployed to France in December of 1944, and supported the Allied drive across Europe. During the months that followed, the unit compiled an enviable record of accomplishments — its engineers repaired bridges, cleared and maintained roads, renovated buildings, constructed hospitals, and built huge supply depots.
We are so lucky that the unit’s commander, Colonel Aldo Bagnulo, did a brilliant job of documenting the unit’s many outstanding accomplishments, and kept dozens of previously unpublished images of African American engineers at work during World War II. This book would not be possible without his attention to detail, or his impeccable record keeping.
A summary of the book and a photo gallery of images is available on the Office of History web page, as well as a link to download the full text of the book. I encourage you to check out our history and honor it, because the 1321st Engineers were definitely BUILDING STRONG.