Derricks' Bridgehead

The History of the 92nd Division, 597th Field Artillery Battalion, and the Leadership Legacy of Col. Wendell T. Derricks

Lt. Col. Major Clark

Vivid, first-hand account of a unique and significant World War II all-black U.S. Army unit—the 597th Field Artillery Battalion, 92nd Division.
Date Published :
April 2023
Publisher :
Editor :
Vivian Clark-Adams, Wenona Clark
Illustration :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636242712
Pages : 304
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


The 597th Field Artillery Battalion, 92nd Division, was the first, last, and only all-black officered direct support field artillery battalion committed to combat in the history of the U.S. Army. It was the first all-black unit in a combat division and, together with the 600th Field Artillery Battalion, constituted the only all-black units in any combat division. Alongside impressive achievements on the battlefield in Italy in 1944–45, the unit provided more key command and staff positions exclusively for black field artillery officers than any other U.S. Army unit in combat, giving combat training and experience to more senior black field artillery officers than any of the other 16 black field artillery battalions during World War II.

Colonel Wendell Derricks worked to shelter his troops from the worst of the racism exhibited during the war and, due to his ability to envision an integrated postwar army, he provided unique leadership opportunities for his senior officers. The alumni of the 597th Field Artillery Battalion have an impressive record of success, many of them were inducted into the Field Artillery Hall of Fame; some served at the Pentagon, including Lieutenant Colonel Clark; and others forged successful careers in the civilian world.

About The Author

Lt. Col. Major Clark served with the 597th Field Artillery Battalion in WWII and Korea. His 20-year-plus Army career culminated at the Pentagon. During his career, Clark earned 12 medals and citations. As a civilian, Clark continued his efforts to recognize and reward black military achievements. One of Clark’s greatest achievements was working behind the scenes to bring about the awarding of Medals of Honor to seven African American World War II veterans. Clark was invited to the White House ceremony by President Bill Clinton for his efforts. He was the battalion's troop historian.


1 A Limited Opportunity
2 The Opportunity Expands
3 A Northern Winter in Indiana
4 Camp Robinson, Arkansas
5 Fort Huachuca
6 Louisiana Maneuvers
7 Programmed for Failure

8 The Tide Turns
9 Over There

10 By the Sea
11 In the Mountains
12 Changes at the Top
13 A New Year and a New Assignment
14 In the Valley
15 Operation Fourth Term
16 The Aftermath
17 On the Move
18 The Enemy Withdrawal Becomes a Rout

19 Two Down and One to Go
20 A Special Mission Carried Out from Varazze
21 Preparing for Redeployment
22 Three Down and We had Earned a Trip Home

23 Colonel Wendell Derricks
24 Derricks’ Legacy
25 The Race Continues
26 Success

More from this publisher