Louis Garrett: Pulaski County Business Owner and Buffalo Soldier

Louis Daniel Garrett was born on April 11, 1921 in Somerset, Kentucky.  Garrett graduated as salutatorian of his class at Dunbar High School in Somerset in 1941.

Agter graduation, Garrett joined the U.S. Army and served as a 1st sergeant with the 9th and 27th Horse Cavalry.  The “Buffalo Soldiers” was a nickname associated with African-American cavalry soldiers during the Civil War.  He served in France, Italy, and on the African continent.

Following the decision to establish two additional African American horse cavalry regiments (the 27th and 28th), Trooper Garrett was assigned to the 27th regiment to assist in organizing and training recruits. Stationed at Fort Clark, Texas, the 27th regiment underwent a two-year training period before being deployed to North Africa in 1944. However, due to changes in military tactics, the unit was no longer equipped with horses and thus disbanded. The troopers were then reassigned to various service units throughout Europe and also served as replacements for the all-black 92nd Infantry Division. Trooper Garrett held the position of First Sergeant of Company E, 412 Port Company until about a month before his discharge when he was transferred to the 369th 2nd Quartermaster Trucking Company.

After the war, he departed France on a military vessel. The journey from France to the United States lasted nine days. Despite the end of the war, segregation was still prevalent in the military. Assigned to a section with 20 soldiers, only a small number of them were black. It was made clear that the soldier with the highest rank would take charge. As they looked at each other’s uniforms, it became apparent that First Sergeant Louis D. Garrett held the highest rank. The voyage went smoothly and they arrived in New York without any issues. Garrett proudly served for four years on active duty and was awarded the American Theatre Ribbon, European African Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon with two Bronze Service Stars, World War II Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal (as noted in his Enlisted Record and Report of Separation from December 12th, 1945).

Garrett returned to Somerset, Kentucky in 1945 and married Maxine Grider on June 7, 1946.

In 1953 Louis Garrett opened Garrett’s Tailor Shop, which was located in downtown Somerset on Zachary Way. He was the only tailor who could make a custom suit south of Cincinnati. Some of his employees were Mrs. Rebecca Alexander, Mrs. Chester Garrett, Mrs. Maggie Jamison, and Mrs. Laura Grider. The business was open for 41 years. He closed the doors in 1994.

Garrett passed away at age 84 on July 24, 2005, and is buried in Mt. Olive Cemetary in Somerset, Ky.