On Sept. 24, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10730. The order federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered the secretary of defense to employ the Arkansas Soldiers as well as federal troops to enforce a federal district court order in Little Rock, Ark. Within hours, 1,000 Soldiers of the 327th Airborne Battle Group of the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Little Rock from their base in Kentucky.

The following morning, troops from the 327th surrounded Little Rock Central High School while a small detachment went to pick up nine neatly dressed black teenagers. After a short drive, the Soldiers and their charges reached the school. Staring straight ahead, the youngsters formed a single file and, surrounded by some of America's best Soldiers carrying rifles with bayonets fixed, they marched through a jeering crowd into the school to begin the fall term after two previous failed attempts. As the nation and much of the world watched, Central High School became desegregated. The 14th amendment to the United States Constitution, which mandates that no American will be deprived of the equal protection of the laws, had been upheld.