The division was activated in December 1917 and sent to France; however, the troops never fought together as a division. Over the objections of the division's commander, Brig. Gen. Roy Hoffman (appointed December 15 1917), its regiments were detached and seconded to the French Army.
The main American Expeditionary Force (AEF) refused to have African-American soldiers in combat, as did the British, to whom the division was originally offered. (Ironically, the commander of the AEF, Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing had earned his nickname and reputation as a leader in command of the 10th Cavalry, then still a black Buffalo Soldier regiment. While Pershing was an early supporter of having "colored" soldiers in the military, he seems to have bowed to political expediency in this case.)
The regiments fought in several battles alongside French troops, who were already used to colonial North and Sub-Saharan African "colored" soldiers (noirs). All regiments acquitted themselves well and received unit citations from the French. Numerous individual soldiers exhibited extraordinary heroism and were highly decorated by the French. One of these was Cpl. Freddie Stowers, who decades after his death would be awarded the American Medal of Honor. The division's shoulder patch, with its blue French Adrian helmet, commemorated this period.
Total casualties from all regiments were 3,534 (killed-in-action 467; wounded-in-action 3,067).
Almost all of the Division occupied Morotai, Dutch New Guinea, from 4 April to 21 October 1945. Scattered skirmishes occurred along the northwestern sector of the island. The 93d continued its labor and security missions. It occupied Sansapor, 5 April to 10 July 1945, Middleburg Island, 5 April to 7 October 1945, and Noemfoor Island, 13 April to 7 June 1945. The Division moved to Zamboanga, Philippine Islands, where it remained from 1 July 1945 to 7 January 1946. Patrols encountered light resistance until the end of hostilities, 15 August 1945. Palawan was occupied, 2 July to 5 December 1945, Jolo, 1 July to 2 October 1945, and Sanga-Sanga, 3 July 1945 to 6 January 1946. The Division arrived at Mindanao 9 October 1945, moved to Tacloban, Leyte, 13 January 1946, and left for home, 17 January.
Government Printing Office, 1950 reproduced at http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/cc/cc.htm