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Army veteran’s legacy memorialized in Fort Bliss statue

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- You can't miss it when entering Fort Bliss and it's one of the last things you see leaving.

The bronze, three thousand pound statue of a Buffalo Soldier was erected in 1999, and depicts Army Corporal John Ross with Troop I of the U.S. Calvary on horseback carrying a riffle.

According to the Texas Historical Commission, in 1866 the U.S. established six regiments known as the Buffalo Soldiers. They served during the Civil War and several were stationed at Fort Bliss.

Ulysses Davis, then a young army mechanic at Fort Bliss, saw pictures of the regiment and was inspired to educate the public.

"Growing up in Virginia," says Davis, "they didn't teach black history back in 60's and 70's... and I didn't know Buffalo Soldier was real."

Upon separating from the Army, Davis created a lesson plan and got to work.

"I pieced together a uniform, and I got down to training my horse, and I started doing parades, and people loved it," Davis says.

Soon thereafter, he and his cherished horse, Mercedes, became the inspiration for the statue.

Sketches were created and a cast of his face was made.

"It's a great honor that they asked me to model for that statue," says Davis. "Not too many people can say they got a statue that look like them." 

Davis says it's important to never forget.

Davis says, "My people are very instrumental in this country. A lot of that I didn't know about because like I said back then, they didn't have Black History Month."

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Crista V. Mack

Crista V. Mack is a U.S. Air Force veteran who transitioned to news as a multi-media journalist.


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