TV Videos

Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Color ‘Attack of the USS Utah’ Exclusive Clip Focuses on Clark Simmons

Continuing National Geographic’s 136-year record of giving viewers access to pivotal historical moments with new breadth and insight, the network will honor the contributions and sacrifices of overlooked Allied soldiers of color with two new specials on Monday, June 3.

At 9/8c, ERASED: WW2’S HEROES OF COLOR, a four-part docuseries executive produced and narrated by Idris Elba (“Hijack”), will premiere, and THE REAL RED TAILS, a one-hour documentary narrated by Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”) will kick off the evening at 8/7c. Both specials will stream the next day on Disney+ and Hulu.

To celebrate the release of ERASED: WW2’S HEROES OF COLOR, National Geographic has released an exclusive clip from Episode 102 ‘Pearl Harbor’ that tells the stories of three Black heroes who miraculously survived the attack.

As seen in the video, it’s 8:01 on December 7, 1941, and Clark Simmons is cleaning a mirror when suddenly hears airplanes flying above and machines guns above their ship the USS Utah. “I just didn’t know what was happening.” While there is no footage inside the ships, the Pearl Harbour attack has been reenacted countless times before, but someone was always missing…people of color. Such as, “Men like Clark Simmons” who was on the USS Utah when it was struck by a torpedo.

George Bland, Doris Miller, and Clark Simmons (played by Daniel Abbott, Abdul Sulaiman and Kyle Reece Bell, respectively) pose for a group portrait in a WW2 historic reenactment scene for “Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Color.” The series tells the stories of three Black heroes who miraculously survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. Bland and Miller served as mess attendants on the USS West Virginia, where Miller pursued boxing as a sport. He defied racial stereotypes when he shot down enemy planes during the attack. Simmons served as mess attendant on the USS Utah. (National Geographic/Seye Isikalu)

The four-part series weaves a blend of historical dramatizations with curated archival footage, bridging the past with the present to highlight new perspectives on established histories. The series showcases the personal narratives of soldiers through their never-before-aired oral testimonies and journal writings, along with powerful accounts from their descendants — stories passed down the generations. These gripping and emotional testimonies transport viewers back in time to witness bravery unfold in WWII’s iconic theatres of war.

Produced by October Films and Elba’s 22Summers, ERASED: WW2’S HEROES OF COLOR uncovers the long-lost legacies of soldiers of color during World War II. This landmark series sheds light on the immense contributions of over eight million individuals who fought heroically for the Allied forces and whose stories have largely gone untold.

Looking beyond the battlefield, ERASED reveals the profound link between the soldiers’ wartime struggles and the rise of post-war-inspired movements for freedom that swept the globe. Both shows are a poignant testament to the soldiers’ courage, a tribute to their sacrifices, and a powerful reminder that the fight for equality and recognition continues to this day.

Each episode focuses on at least three extraordinary heroes, from a 16-year-old New Yorker to an aristocrat from India.

Mess attendant Doris Miller (played by Abdul Sulaiman) helps an injured officer in a WW2 historic reenactment scene for “Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Color. The series tells the stories of three Black heroes who miraculously survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of these men, mess attendant Doris Miller, defied racial stereotypes when he shot down enemy planes during the attack. (National Geographic)

“PEARL HARBOR”

Premieres June 3 at 9/8c on Nat Geo, Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

This episode tells the unsung story of three African American sailors who not only miraculously survived the attack on Pearl Harbor but saved countless lives. Working as messmen below deck on segregated American ships, hundreds of Black sailors fought for their lives as Japanese bombs hit. Some performed incredible acts of heroism, but on returning to America, their acts weren’t honored, and they were erased.

“D-DAY”

Premieres June 3 at 10/9c on Nat Geo, Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

In this episode, we unearth the hidden heroes of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion who helped liberate Europe on D-Day. These American soldiers were the only all-Black combat unit to fight on the Normandy beaches. After valiantly serving their country, they returned home, hoping for the Civil Rights Movement to secure change but finding a country where their heroics in France were quickly forgotten.

“DUNKIRK”

Premieres June 10 at 10/9c on Nat Geo Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

This episode reveals the gripping story of Force K6, a little-known Indian regiment of mule handlers in WW2, destined to play a pivotal role in the life-saving evacuation of British forces at Dunkirk. Stranded in Nazi-occupied France, the unit looked for ways to escape to safety. When some were taken captive by the German Army, they staged a daring breakout from a POW camp. Later, their wartime experiences fed into the fight to end over 200 years of colonial rule in India.

“BATTLE OF THE BULGE”

Premieres June 10 at 10/9c on Nat Geo Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

This episode explores the untold story of the Black Panthers, an elite African American tank battalion who endured years of discrimination. Unseen diaries and rare interviews chart the unit’s participation in conflicts throughout France, ending in the bloodiest battle of WWII: the Battle of the Bulge. Their experiences inspire not just the fight for civil rights in the U.S. but also battles for freedom around the globe.

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