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"He had been told that the Negroes coming over in the Army had been let out of cages and they had tails, and he wanted to satisfy his curiosity." (Video Interview, 24:50)

   Pearle W. Mack, Jr.
Image of Pearle W. Mack, Jr.
Pearle Mack [detail from video]
War: World War II, 1939-1946; Korean War, 1950-1955; Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Service Location: United States; European Theater; also: United States; Southeast Asia
Rank: Major
Place of Birth: Topeka, KS
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When Pearle Mack tried to enlist on December 8, 1941 and was rebuffed by a racist recruiter, that didn't stop him from launching an Army career that took him through three wars. Whether providing logistical support for Patton in World War II, running a transportation outfit in the frozen wastes of Korea, or serving as an intelligence officer in Vietnam, Mack kept his cool in the face of further insults and rose through the ranks. What he learned in his last tour of wartime duty was that the herbicide Agent Orange doesn't discriminate among soldiers.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (9 clips)
»Complete Interview  (105 min.)
 Other Materials
»Handwritten interview notes
More like this
»AAHM: Pioneers
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (9 items)
His attempt to enlist in the Army. (01:50) Growing up in an integrated neighborhood, encountering segregation in the South. (02:06) Barred from an officers' club because of his race. (00:51)
Encountering in Belgium a chaplain who had never seen black people before. (00:51) Lack of black officers in WWII; racial quotas; combat training overcoming fear. (07:21) Experiences in Vietnam as a psychological warfare officer; using his language skills to get around the country; relations with the civilian population. (08:19)
Dangers of flying in a helicopter in Vietnam: running out of fuel, being shot at by civilians; the danger of publicizing troop movements. (03:05) Noting the improving conditions over his career for blacks in the Army; negative reception for returning Vietnam vets; effects of Agent Orange on him. (07:22) Assessing his career in the military; differences between the contemporary military and the service in his day. (01:39)
Home » Search Results » Pearle W. Mack, Jr.
  The Library of Congress
  May 29, 2007
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