Future black candidates attended either special training camps in Puerto Rico (from which 433 officers graduated), the Philippines, Hawaii, and Panama, or regular officer training facilities in the United States .
The Army had no written policy on what to do if an officer training camp became integrated, so each camp was allowed to decide for itself the manner in which the integration was executed.
Although comprising just ten percent of the entire United States population, blacks supplied thirteen percent of inductees.
While still discriminatory, the Army was far more progressive in race relations than the other branches of the military. The four established all-black Regular Army regiments were not used in overseas combat roles but instead were diffused throughout American held territory.
On 15 October 1917, 639 African-American men received their commissions as either captain or first or second lieutenant, and were assigned to infantry, artillery, and engineer units with the 92d Division.
This was to be the first and only class to graduate from Fort Des Moines; the War Department shut it down soon after their departure.They viewed the conflict as an opportunity to prove their loyalty, patriotism, and worthiness for equal treatment in the United States.Following the Civil War, the Army disbanded volunteer “colored” regiments, and established six Regular Army regiments of black troops with white officers.When World War I broke out, there were four all-black regiments: the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry.The men in these units were considered heroes in their communities.Consequently, the War Department determined that the instruction at Fort Des Moines was poor and inadequate.Also adding to the poor training was the fact that no one knew exactly what to expect in France, so it was difficult to train as precisely as was needed.The standard volunteer system proved to be inadequate in raising an Army, so on Congress passed the Selective Service Act requiring all male citizens between the ages of 21 and 31 to register for the draft.Even before the act was passed, African American males from all over the country eagerly joined the war effort.In 1869, the infantry regiments were reorganized into the 24th and 25th Infantry.The two cavalry regiments, the 9th and 10th, were retained.