On April 6th, 1917, the United States officially entered World War I as Congress swiftly passed a Declaration of War against Germany. Many African Americans expected the regular Army troopers of the Buffalo Soldiers to be part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) sent to France to battle the Kaiser. However, behind closed doors, politicians and high-ranking members of the military saw to it that the four regular Army Buffalo Soldier regiments were conveniently dispatched to inconvenient locales throughout the central U.S. and even into the Pacific. In fact, the highest ranking African American officer of the time, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Young, was deemed medically unqualified and forced into retirement shortly after the U.S. entered the Great War.
The 9th Cavalry were already dispatched in the Philippines, the 10th Cavalry was patrolling the U.S. & Mexico border, the 24th Infantry was also on the Mexico border and the 25th infantry was stationed in Hawaii. None of the regular Army Buffalo Soldier regiments ever saw duty with the AEF in France during WWI. As hard as those in power fought to prevent African Americans from serving in any major capacity during the war, the demand for manpower quickly demonstrated to all that in order to defeat the Axis, more men would be needed regardless of their color. While the regular Army Buffalo Soldiers were exiled away from WWI action, the National Army would eventually have to conscript tens of thousands of additional African Americans to join the fight for democracy in the Great War.