The Buffalo Sailor
American Forces Press Service
Washington, Apr. 4, 2000 Navy Dr. (Cmdr.) Linda A. Murakata is the granddaughter and great-great-niece of turn-of-the-century African American Army "Buffalo Soldiers."
Her maternal grandfather, Archibald Honduras Gillespie, enlisted in the Army at age 16 on Oct. 17, 1898. He served with the 9th and 10th Cavalry "Buffalo Soldiers" regiments and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments from 1898 to 1926.
Murakata said her research reveals Gillespie served in the Philippines from 1901 to 1909 and that he campaigned in Mexico with Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing during the abortive 1916-17 expedition to capture the outlaw Pancho Villa. Gillespie was commissioned a captain on Oct. 15, 1917, but reverted to sergeant on April 4, 1918. He was a cavalry instructor at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., where he retired and is buried.
Murakata's maternal great-great-uncle, James R. Gillespie, enlisted in the Army on Aug. 1, 1881, and rose to the rank of master sergeant before being commissioned as a first lieutenant in the 8th Volunteer Infantry in Havana, Cuba, on June 17, 1898. He also served in the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 25th Infantry regiments.
The uncle retired on May 13, 1907, but was called back to active duty on Oct. 11, 1915, and commissioned a captain in the Liberian Frontier Force. He worked with the American military attaché in Monrovia, Liberia.