[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 155 (2009), Part 20]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages 27179-27180]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]



                             HON. SAM FARR

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, November 6, 2009

  Mr. FARR. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the soldiers who 
served during World War II in the United States Army's 54th Coast 
Artillery Regiment. The 54th was an all-black regiment that shared the 
mission of guarding California's Central Coast from enemy attack. It 
was the U.S. Army's only all-black, heavy artillery unit during World 
War II.
  The 54th was part of the network of forces that protected the 
entrance to San Francisco Harbor and the Golden Gate Bridge and the 
millions of tons of cargo and munitions coming

[[Page 27180]]

out of the port. This network included coastal fortifications, 
underwater minefields, antiaircraft guns, radars, searchlights, patrol 
aircraft, and observation posts up and down the coast of California. 
Several such posts were located in my District, including one near the 
lighthouse in the city of Santa Cruz.
  No enemy was ever seen, and in 1944 the Army began to phase out its 
California coast watch. Batteries of the 54th were deployed to other 
battlefronts, including Peru. After the fall of Germany in 1945, the 
54th was restructured and sent to the Philippines to prepare to invade 
Japan, but Japan surrendered before that happened.
  Armed initially with old guns and wearing uniforms left over from 
World War I, the men of the 54th served with pride and dedication. Two 
members of the Santa Cruz unit still live on the Central Coast. Russell 
R. Dawson returned to Santa Cruz after his discharge in 1946 and became 
the first black postal worker in that city, a job he held for 33 years. 
William Edward Jackson Sr., who lives in nearby Menlo Park, is a past 
president of that city's chapter of the NAACP.
  On this Veteran's Day these two men will represent the 54th Coast 
Artillery Regiment at the dedication of a memorial plaque erected on 
the site of their former post at Lighthouse Field. This project was 
spearheaded by the Santa Cruz Women's Club who, after Dawson spoke to 
their group about his experiences, decided to memorialize this special 
piece of Santa Cruz and American history. Madam Speaker, I know the 
whole House joins me in thanking the 54th Coast Army Artillery Regiment 
for their honorable and dedicated service to our nation.