During World War 1, in which Truman fought as an artillery officer, more than 350,000 black troops served in segregated army units. Few were allowed to fight.
It took the military many more years to comply with Truman's orders. In the 1950s, few blacks served as officers, particularly in the Navy. Still, the number of front line black troops rose in the Navy. Still,the number of front line black troops rose in the Korean War, compared to the World War 2 when, with few exceptions, blacks were relegated to performing menial tasks. Segregation within the military services did not officially end until the Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson announced on Sept, 30, 1954 that the all black unit had been abolished.