World War I soldier William McCray (1898-1918) was born in New York City on February 7, 1898. He attended public school locally and enlisted on June 4, 1917 in the 15th Regiment, New York Guard, the troop popularly known as the Harlem Hellfighters. All of the enlisted men in the regiment (formed in 1913) were African-American, and most of the officers were white. The soldiers arrived in France in December 1917 and were redesignated as the 369th Regiment. They joined the 16th and 161st Divisions of the French Army under the command of General Levaue.