The first major battle in which African Americans participated was the Civil War... they were slaves.
During that war, they distinguished themselves as soldiers, sacrificing their lives for their country and for their freedom.
The Legend of the Buffalo Soldiers.
Black men and women have continued to serve with distinction, fighting for those very same reasons, in every war since then.
2004 marks the 128th year of continuous service for the Tenth United States Cavalry, a historical milestone achieved by devoted peacetime service and gallant wartime deeds.