Junction City Edwin H. Shoenbeck, one of the last white commanders of the Buffalo Soldiers, died Thursday at Geary Community Hospital. He was 88.
Shoenbeck joined the U.S. Army in 1936 and served in the horse cavalry at several Army posts, including Fort Riley. From 1942 through early 1944, Shoenbeck served as an officer with the 10th Calvary Buffalo Soldiers, part of an all-black unit formed during the Civil War to fight alongside the Union Army.
He later served as an infantry commander in Italy and France during World War II, earning a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, before retiring from active duty in 1947.
Shoenbeck settled in Junction City, where he was an accountant and real estate broker for nearly three decades. During that time, he remained close to the Buffalo Soldiers, and was involved in the creation of the Buffalo Soldier Memorial in Junction City.
"You couldn't find a nicer guy," said Richard Bergen, the artist who created a 9-foot bronze statue of a Buffalo Soldier by his horse for the Buffalo Soldier Memorial in Junction City.