The courageous drivers of the Red Ball Express during World War II have an amazing story, and Black History Month is the ideal time to tell it.
Supply trucks started rolling in August 1944, and this 24-7 trucking convoy stretched from Saint-Lô in Normandy to Paris. The drivers, mostly African-Americans serving in the Army Transportation Corps, were instrumental in getting supplies to the front lines as the U.S. forces advanced toward the enemy.
The drivers faced many hardships, such as the lack of sleep; the danger of night driving with only small beams of light; and the ever-present threat of German “buzz” bombs. The three months that the Red Ball Express was in existence saw more than 6,000 trucks carry more than 412,000 tons of vital supplies to the front lines.
In a fitting gesture, Congress passed a resolution on June 2, 2004, honoring the work of the African-American truck drivers in spite of the indignities and double standards they endured.
Many of these fine men are no longer with us, but we would do well to remember and appreciate their contribution to our country.
Sherri Jones Rivers