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Despite segregation Lugene Younger was proud to defend U.S. - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Despite segregation Lugene Younger was proud to defend U.S.

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SHREVEPORT, La -

In honor of African American History Month, meet a man who had an important mission for the U.S. Army in World War II, even though he received second class treatment in return.

Lugene Younger was in charge of a unit of black soldiers in Germany. His unit had the job of disposing of enemy mines and booby traps.

"That kind of business you couldn't make a mistake," Younger says. "If you made a mistake that was the end of the line.

"The bad days were when you were a little on the nervous side," he said, remembering his time near the front lines. "You didn't know what was going to happen next."

But every day, Younger and his unit -- like all black soldiers in World War II, were segregated from white units and weren't treated the same.

"It kind of made me feel unwelcome as a soldier," Younger recalls.

His wife of 64 years says they were used to that sort of treatment at home.

"We were brought up like that," Amy Younger explained. "So, you know, only thing we know is we stayed to ourselves and white folks stayed to theirs. And you had to live or die."

But, added, Mr. Younger, "I wanted to help save America."

He proudly wears his World War II Veteran cap, wanting everyone to know that he fought for his country. But he was glad when it was over.

"When I got back to Camp Shanks, New York I got out and kissed the ground," he said.

Younger returned to his hometown of Grambling and went to the college, then known as Louisiana Negro Normal Institute. He later worked more than 20 years as a surveyor with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, before coming to Shreveport as an inspector for a steel company. He's now 94 years old.

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