FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq (Army News Service, Feb. 27, 2007) - Most "Black Jack" Soldiers know the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division's history, but during its Black History Month observance Feb. 16, the keynote speaker here discussed the 9th U.S. Cavalry and its legendary "Buffalo Soldiers."

"I was asked to speak because they said I'm a role model," said Command Sgt. Maj. James P. Daniels, 4th "Dark Horse" Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment. "But I don't look at myself as a role model. I just look at myself as a Soldier. I am honored to have those kind words used for me, though."

Taking the Black History Month national theme, "African Americans in the Military, Then and Now," Daniels went back to something his father told him in his youth. "My father once told me that nothing in life is free - there's a lot of sweat in it," recalled the Fort Gaines, Ga., native.

Wearing a "Buffalo Soldier" ball cap, he described the life and accomplishments of the Buffalo Soldiers. Later in his lesson, he donned today's Cavalry stetson to describe today's Soldiers, and what the future might hold.

The history lesson was educational for Staff Sgt. Jammie Blunt, a Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, food service sergeant. "I really didn't know a lot about the Buffalo Soldiers' history," he said. "Today, I learned their story is important because it expands our culture. It makes me feel elite, because we overcame and rose to become successful."

Sgt. 1st Class Atoro Barnes said all observances are important to celebrate and learn about. Yet, he said, this one was special because of Daniels' Buffalo Soldier theme. "It shows us how great the history of the 1st Cavalry is and also the 9th U.S. Cavalry - especially to the African Americans," Barnes said. "Growing up, not many of us were taught in school about the important historical role of African Americans and other races in the military."

Daniels said the intent of his speech and history lesson was to show positive contributions of yesterday's Soldiers. "Because of their many sacrifices, we are allowed to serve with our brothers-in-arms as Soldiers. We serve together toward one common goal: to serve our nation," he said.

"It is time for us to give back to what they didn't have," he concluded. "Every day, history is being made. It's up to us to reflect on that history and see how far we have come."

(Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim writes for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Public Affairs.)