After 9/11, Black Troops Not Keen on Combat

After 9/11, Black Troops Not Keen on Combat

The War on Terror has caused many African-American military personnel to stay away from the most dangerous positions.

Published September 9, 2011

The collective War on Terror has continued for nearly a decade now and as the various operations continue without an end in sight, many African-American military personnel are staying away from many of the most dangerous positions.


Historically, African-Americans joined the military despite incredible adversity for the opportunity to serve their country and create a better life for themselves and their families back at home. Although many Black enlistees still hold those same feelings, the nature of war has changed so drastically, some are finding ways to get the benefits of military service without the direct danger of combat.


Overall, the number of African-Americans serving in the armed forces has declined significantly since the start of the War on Terror. Of the current 92,800 active troops in Iraq and 111,000 in Afghanistan, statistics show that nearly a quarter of those are African-Americans. However, of those killed in combat, only 9 percent of the troops have been Black.


The low rates of Black deaths have been linked to the type of work being performed by Blacks in the military. On average, the majority of Blacks serving in the military work in administrative or supply positions rather than in infantry posts. Statistics also show that Blacks make up only 10 percent of those on the battlefield in Army infantry units.


Outside of the danger inherent in working in a war zone, Blacks also face the prospect of being targeted because of their race by combatants from the local population.


Speaking candidly to a British reporter, Abu Mujahed, an Iraqi insurgent and bomber said, “To have Negroes occupying us is a particular humiliation…sometimes we aborted a mission because there were no Negroes.”

 (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Written by Naeesa Aziz


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