Captain Richard Davenport
Captain Richard Davenport, a black lawyer and military officer attached to the 343d Military Police Corps Unit. Davenport investigates the murder of Tech/Sergeant Vernon C. Waters. Ignoring the prejudiced statements and threats of Captain Charles Taylor, Davenport dispassionately fulfills his job and discovers that Private First Class Melvin Peterson murdered Waters while Private Tony Smalls watched. After the discovery, Davenport returns to his unit while the other men prepare to go to the front.
Captain Charles Taylor
Captain Charles Taylor, a white man in his mid-to late thirties who resents Davenport’s assignment and rank. Taylor wants Davenport taken off the murder investigation because he does not believe that a black man can accuse white men or solve the case. After interrogating white soldiers Byrd and Wilcox, Taylor orders that they be arrested; however, Davenport proves that they are not guilty. When Davenport discovers the truth, Taylor admits that he was wrong about African Americans being able to be in charge.
Tech/Sergeant Vernon C. Waters
Tech/Sergeant Vernon C. Waters, a well-built African American with light brown skin who manages the baseball team and is disliked by his men. Waters believes that black men must overcome their ignorant status and harasses his men who match the stereotype of being foolish. Waters belittles C. J. Memphis until Memphis attacks Waters. Feeling guilt after Memphis’ death, Waters drinks too much; he is beaten by Byrd and Wilcox after insulting them, but the two men leave him alive. Peterson and Smalls find Waters lying in the road, and after beating him, Peterson murders him.
Corporal Bernard Cobb
Corporal Bernard Cobb, a black man in his mid-to late twenties who defends Memphis when he hits Waters. Cobb relives the scene between Waters and Memphis. He visits Memphis in the brig,...
(The entire section is 801 words.)