During WW II, advances toward the enemy often ran allied troops painfully short of supplies. Armies without food to feed the soldiers or medical supplies to mend the injured as well as guns without bullets would soon bring the best trained Army to its knees. To ensure that the Americans and the allies were well supplied with everything they needed to advance against the enemy, the Red Ball Express was created.
The Red Ball Express was a large convoy of trucks filled with supplies. The name originated from the idea of announcing someone very important. A white flag with a red ball centered on it indicated a vice admiral’s ship. Later, the name “red ball” referred to perishables in rail cars that needed to have the right of way to prevent spoilage. Thus, “red ball” attached to any type of transport meant that it was important and vital that it reached its destination quickly.
Of the drivers of this trucking convoy, 75% were of African American descent. This was in part because during WW II, the general idea of the military echelon was that the black soldier was not as capable in combat as the rest of the troops. Therefore, black soldiers were routinely assigned jobs in the mess hall, the laundry, the motor pool and as drivers.
These brave men were the inspiration for Reddball Inc.