Montford Point Marines May Soon Get Congressional Gold Medal

I saw this yesterday in the Detroit Free Press and wanted to share it with our readers here on the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic site. It seems fitting as we are just a few days away from the big game and Veterans Day 2011.

It’s the story of the Montford Point Marines, the first black Marines to be inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps. Their name was taken from the training facility, Montford Point, which was segregated from Camp Lejeune. Several of the surviving members hailed from Detroit, which makes me proud

Here is some info from the article:

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the armed forces to accept African Americans into their ranks, and the Marine Corps was the last to fall in line. Even then, segregation remained as the black recruits and draftees were trained in their own facility — a patch of land adjacent to Camp Lejeune, N.C., called Montford Point. They were forbidden from entering Camp Lejeune without special authorization.

These men endured top brass hostility, segregated training, scornful treatment and the demeaning belief that they didn’t have the guts, character and discipline to defend their country in combat.

Yet the Montford Point Marines, mainly relegated to service battalions, put their lives on the line: humping ammo and supplies under fire and bringing the wounded to safety while being strafed, sniped, bombed and blasted as the Marines island-hopped through the Pacific toward Japan.

And their pride endures today.

With probably fewer than 300 of them still alive, the Montford Point Marines are within reach of a Congressional Gold Medal. The measure cleared the House of Representatives last month without a dissenting vote, and its backers hope it will win Senate approval by the Marine Corps birthday on Thursday.

Marine Col. Stephanie Smith said the Congressional Gold Medal should help put the Montford Point men, including her father, in their rightful place among the Corps’ storied-warrior history. Their story will become part of the legacy instilled in every recruit going through boot camp.

“Their courage, perseverance and self-sacrifice” needs to be honored, said Smith, a native New Yorker. “These men fought and died for their country.”

As with most Americans, I have nothing but respect for these men and I hope Congress gives them the medal they clearly deserve. Congress doesn’t have to worry about giving them honor. They’ve always had that. No question there. Check out this video I found on YouTube. Pretty cool.



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