95-year-old John Pooler served in the 92nd Infantry, the only African American unit to see combat in Europe during World War II.
At the age of 21, he endured six months of intense training, including a 50-mile hike in the woods and digging holes to stay in.
“We would start out marching and digging holes in the field -- woods. We would stay in those holes there all day, all night, every year. Every year,” said Pooler.
Pooler served in the Army from 1942-1945.
95-year-old Buffalo Soldier reminisces
Those moments prepared him for the long journey ahead.
“Going from Italy all the way through Germany. Now that was the toughest time you ever seen,” said Pooler.
He served as a Light Mortar Crewman operating 60- and 80-millimeter stationary guns, the shells of the gun equivalent to the size of a stretched hand.
During the war, Pooler says there were moments where one had to take caution.
“You got guns miles away that can take the whole army where you are at and you have to be careful sometimes,” said Pooler.
However, Pooler says that there was another tough battle amongst the whites and blacks.
“We couldn't mix with one another. They're in one place and they are in another,” said Pooler. “You’re fighting one another and that's the way it was, and that stays on my mind, day in and day out.”
Out of his 11 children, three of his sons went into the military and four of his grandchildren followed in this Buffalo Soldier's footsteps and served in the military.