Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum

His Story

Trooper James G. Madison
10th U. S. Horse Cavalry, Troop E
1942 - 1945

James G. Madison was born on August 23, 1922 in Marshall, MO. He entered the U.S. Army at Fort Leavenworth, KS in 1942 where he completed basic training. He was shipped to Camp Lockett, CA (about 50 miles east of San Diego) and was assigned to the 10th U.S. Cavalry. The U.S. 10th Cavalry received extensive training on horseback and Madison’s cavalry title was “Pack Driver.” He led a pack horse loaded with a 50 caliber machine gun and boxes of ammunition. His unit guarded the Mexican border and railroad tunnels that crisscrossed the American and Mexican borders.

Trooper James G. Madison

In January 1944, the Army disbanded the horse cavalry; Madison’s unit was transferred to Casablanca, North Africa to assist with the World War II effort. He was assigned to a combat engineers outfit. From there, he went to Napoli, Italy and was issued a 6-by-6 truck that was part of a convoy assigned to haul food and ammunition to the front lines. He received a crash course in demolition to help his squad sweep mines in abandoned towns throughout Italy. He re-constructed pontoon bridges that had been destroyed and built air strips. He also transported war prisoners from the front lines to stockades. When the war ended in 1945, Trooper Madison went to Fort Lewis, WA (near Seattle). After a short leave, he began training for overseas duty in the Far East. Just before his unit received orders to ship-out, the atomic bomb was dropped on Pearl Harbor to end the war. Madison was discharged from the U.S. Army at Fort Lewis in late 1945.

After the war, President Truman signed an executive order that gave returning servicemen and women first choice for federal jobs. Trooper Madison worked for the U.S. postal service where he retired with 33 years of service.

The 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association was formed in 1966 – 100 years after Congress approved the Army Reorganization Act that authorized the formation of six all-black units. In the late summer of 1965, at the El Capitan Night Club located on 18th Street (near the Negro National Guard Headquarters on 18th and Highland, Kansas City, MO), World War II veterans often met to talk about their military experience. They discussed the idea of holding an annual reunion. Charles Brown contacted all of the veterans he knew and contacted the Old Soldiers Club at Ft. Leavenworth to get their input. The first meeting was held was held at the Negro National Guard Headquarters and the following year (1966), the first reunion - establishing the national 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association -was held at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.

The 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association Anniversary Reunion continues to be held annually across the United States. Another structure was needed to support this event so local chapters were established in 1992 for the veterans to meet regularly. The Greater Kansas City/Leavenworth Area Chapter was the first chapter to receive a charter from the national association. Trooper James G. Madison is the Chapter President. At the first meeting, a schedule of speaking engagements was set-up and once a month meetings were added to the Constitution and Bylaws to provide continuity and a forum to recruit members. Currently, there are more than 20 chapters in the U.S. and Germany.

In 1993, Madison was invited to join the Education group of the Black Archives of Mid-America. His involvement has helped to increase the visibility of the history about the Buffalo Soldiers. On December 7, 1993, Madison was invited to the White House for the unveiling of the Buffalo Soldier stamp.

Meeting in the White House Oval Office
Meeting in the White House Oval Office, December 7, 1993
Washington DC
(Left to right) Carlton G. Philpot, James G. Madison (KC/Leavenworth Chapter), William Harrington (99 yrs. old), President Bill Clinton, Mark Matthews (98 yrs. old), Matthews’ daughter, C. Frederick Williams (DC Chapter), ? Watkins (Postmaster, Ft. Leavenworth)

In 1997, Trooper James G. Madison was sworn in as First Vice President of the National 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association. In 1998, he was selected as Mr. Juneteenth by the Black Archives of Mid-America. Currently, at age 82, he continues to share his stories about the Buffalo Soldiers during World War II as he lead the Greater Kansas City/Leavenworth Chapter of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association.

Interview by Trooper George Hicks, III with Trooper James G. Madison on November 12-13, 2004 in Kansas City, MO.

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