Orange County Veterans and the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the Rose Parade appearance of highly decorated heroes of all Black Buffalo Soldiers Corps.
It has been my (Bobby McDonald) lifelong mission as an Orange County veteran leader and President of the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce, to Promote, Preserve and Perpetuate the history of the brave African American Buffalo Soldiers.
Since 1995, the Buffalo Soldiers Corps has been a staple at the Annual Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
Our appearance at the Rose Parade will bring attention to a unique Black experience in the military; which few Americans know about. So many people are surprised to learn there was a Black Calvary when they see us in full Calvary uniform.
The McDonald family has a rich military history like many other black families. My father Master Sergeant Vernon McDonald served his boot camp at the all Negro facility in Louisiana. My four uncles were Buffalo Soldiers during WW II. My Aunt continued the family tradition of service as an Army nurse in 1943 as an officer.
The New Buffalo Soldiers and 25th Infantry Iron Riders are constantly evolving in an effort to portray the true history of Black Americans in the United States Military. In 2022 the Heroes Hall Museum featured the Buffalo Soldiers in a recent exhibit. The exhibit and lecture were highly praised throughout the Orange County Art and Academic community.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of California District 2 Commander, Daniel Jennings stated “The veteran community must embrace its responsibility to ensure that our Buffalo Soldier brothers have the opportunity to participate and be recognized in the nation’s largest New Year’s Parade”.
The Orange County sponsored contingent will also be riding bicycles in front of the New Buffalo Soldiers on horseback. Yes bicycles! (we will be the first bicycle team in the history of the parade).
In 1896, Maj. General Nelson Miles approved the formation of a Bicycle Corps that would thoroughly test the effectiveness of the bicycle for military purposes.
Buffalo Soldier volunteers from the 25th Infantry Regiment tested the efficacy of using bicycles in military operations. In the Summer of 1897, the bicycle experiment culminated with a 1900-mile, 41-day expedition from Fort Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri.
Today’s Iron Riders who will be featured in the parade believe it is their responsibility to share this little known story of the Buffalo Soldiers. Representatives from the Buffalo Soldiers are available for lectures and demonstrations in Orange County.
We are grateful to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of California District 2 (which includes all of Orange County), Anaheim VFW Post 3173 and VFW Post 209 (Missoula, Montana), Disabled American Veterans Chapter 23, and the ever-present VALOR Group, for their support.
Please join us on January 2nd to celebrate the history and accomplishments of the Buffalo Soldiers. They can be reached via their website: www.ironriders2022.org
Bobby McDonald, United States Navy Vietnam Veteran, VALOR Board Member, Orange County Veterans Advisory Council Member, Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation Board Member, and President of the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce.
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