Full Interview: Montford Point Marine: Ivor Griffin
African Americans During World War II
Roll Call Poster
Twenty years following World War II, in August 1965,a reunion was organized by a group of enterprising Marine veterans and active duty Marines from Philadelphia.
The purpose of the reunion was to renew old friendships and share experiences of former comrades who received recruit training at Montford Point Camp, Camp Lejeune, New River, North Carolina from 1942 - 1949. This group, chaired by then Master Gunnery Sergeant, Brooks E. Gray, USMC, held a meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,and formulated and developed plans for a National Reunion.
Now in existence for over fifty years, the National Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. continues to strive to expand its programs and offerings to the community. We hope that you will be able to take part in one or more of the many exciting events during our fiftieth anniversary and experience firsthand the pride we take in supporting our cause and preserving the legacy of our WWII veterans of Montford Point Camp that we are offering this year in Mobile, Alabama.
It is our mission to Preserve the Legacy. In order to meet our mission and provide services in our community, we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses for support. Without the assistance from community-minded individuals just like you, we wouldn't be able to serve those in our community each year.
Montford Point Marine Association receives a $330,000 Check contribution from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund presented by Cornell A. Wilson, Jr. (*) the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The presentation is a step towards the completion of the National Montford Point Memorial Project located at Camp Johnson, NC memorial gardens.
Contributing sponsors for the Congressional Gold Medal Bronze Replicas
On 14 June 2012, The National Montford Point Marine Association, Inc., Past National President, Dr. James T. Averhart, Jr. and the Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation, MGen (ret) Mr. Ed Usher stand together as Mr. Usher presented a check for the amount of $ 24,722.50.
The MCA&F assisted in a coordinated effort to rally additional sponsors to donate to the worthy cause of funding the purchase of Congressional Gold Medal, Bronze Replicas to present to each living Montford Point Marine veteran or their direct lineal descendants who attended the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony held on June 28, 2012 at Marine Barracks, Washington.
The presentation of the replica medals was made possible by the Marine Corps Association Foundation and Marine Corps Association & Foundation member, Mr. Manuel Carazo, in coordination with a donation from Marine Federal Credit Union and a matching grant from the Tawani Foundation. Additional donation was sponsored by the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, SgtMaj Pete Hass Chairman
It has been the goal of MPMA to progressively expand awareness of the Montford Point Marines by educating and inspiring Americans through the Montford Point Marine (MPMA) National Museum, books, and an on-going PBS documentary with Louis Gossett Jr. The mission is To construct a fitting memorial to honor the 20,000 African American Marines who fought for the "Right to Fight” and to educate and inspire youth and Marines (Past/ Present/Future) and instill the value of perseverance. Click on the memorial design image to learn more and look at the proposed design.
Here you will also be afforded the opportunity to make a donation for Memorial Plaque and or Cast Bronze Plaque. click on the two links and read more on the plaques. Your Donation will go a long way in helping us complete this Memorial. As an independent non-proﬁt organization, Montford Point Marine Association is not ﬁnancially supported by any university or governmental agency.
Please make your donation gift to the Montford Point Marines. Your ﬁnancial contribution will support our efforts to share a history that must be remembered and preserved. We accept PayPal, Check, Credit Card or Money Order. We do not sell or rent email addresses to other organizations, Your contribution transaction is fully secure and confidential throught PayPal.
USNS Montford Point Takes On Legacy, Leads New Class of Navy Ships
United States Naval Ship Montford Point was christened by Jackie Bolden, wife of retired Marine Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, the current administrator of NASA, in San Diego March 2. The ship was named after the Montford Point Marines, who were the first African American Marines to officially attend Marine recruit training in the the 1940s.Read more:
The National Montford Point Marines Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Overview
In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order # 8802 allowing African Americans to be recruited into the United States Marine Corps. African American recruits received basic training at Camp Montford Point, NC.
From 1942 to 1949, African American recruits trained at a segregated training base called Camp Montford Point. Of those Marines over 13,000 served overseas during World War II . Most were assigned to ammunition and Depot companies and charge with the duties of carrying ammunition and supplies to the front lines and return the wounded and dead to the transport ships. At the end of the war all but 1,500 Montford Point Marines were discharged at the convenience of the government.
In July of 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order # 9981 negating segregation and in September 1949, Montford Point was deactivated ending seven years of segregation. In 1974, the camp was renamed Camp Johnson after SgtMaj. Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson, one of the first African Americans to join the Marine Corps and also one of the first African American Marine Drill Instructors. To date, this base is the first and only Marine Corps installation to be named after an African American.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by congress for distinguished achievement. The President of the United States, President Barack Obama signed into law, the legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines on 23 November 2011. This award recognizes the Montford Point Marines’ contributions to the Marine Corps and the United States of America.
Approximately Seventy years ago, African American men had the courage to accept a challenge that would change the course of history; men who paved the way for you and I, men who came from all walks of life, men who had to fight for the right to fight. They were true heroes who would go on to fight at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Saipan, and the Marinas Islands just to name a few. Some even paid the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for this country and fellow Marines during a time of adversity and despondency when they were neither accepted by the Marines Corps nor their own country for which they served. They endured racial discrimination and disrespect because of the color of their skin. These men fought and died for their country while at war. Despite their disparate treatment, these men proved themselves worthy of the title, Marine. Thirteen Montford Point Marines were killed in action (KIA) in World War II.
The sacrifices of these men, paved the way for other minorities and women to be integrated into the Marine Corps. By their sacrifice Montford Point Marines engineered social and cultural change in the Marine Corps that created a lasting impact and has contributed to the success of the United States Marine Corps today.
After WWII approximately 1,500 Montford Point Marines left the Marine Corps and resumed their civilian lives and occupation. They used the leadership and training experiences learned in the Marine Corps to integrate and transition to productive successful citizens. The United States did not begin to end legally sanctioned segregationist laws (Jim Crow Laws) until 1954 with the Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education for the City of Topeka, Kansas which ended the policy of "Separate but Equal" racial segregation of secondary schools in the United States. Many Montford Point Marines were leaders in the American civil rights movement. Their successes outside the Marine Corps are just as much a part of the Marine Corps legacy as their service within the Corps.
The National Montford Point Marine Association has established contact with over 740 Original Montford Point Marines and family members of deceased Montford Point Marines. There was approximately 434 OMPM’s in attendance for the Congressional Gold Medal awards ceremony in Washington, DC. There was nearly 35 next of kin of OMPM’s who accepted the CGM on behalf of the OMPM who died since 23 November 2011, when the President signed the bill into law awarding the CGM to the MPM’s.
The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to the Montford Point Marines on 27 June 2012, at the Capital Visitors Center, Washington, DC in Emancipation Hall. Original Montford Point Marine, 1stSgt Jack McDowell accepted the Congressional Gold Medal for the Montford Point Marines and gave rousing speech. With the completion of this initiative, it will forever serve as a fitting symbol honoring the legacy of Black Marines and the effect of Executive Order #8802 which allowed Blacks to be recruited in the United States Marine Corps. It will also serve as a reminder of the sacrifices , and to honor the 20,000 African American Marines who trained on the hallowed grounds of Camp Montford Point and on to fight for the "Right to Fight” . The Congressional Gold Medal serves to honor and solidify the dedication, perseverance, and bravery of the Montford Point Marines.
Contributing sponsors for the Congressional Gold Medal Bronze Replicas
The Veterans History Project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Created and authorized by Congress, the Veterans History Project received unanimous support in the House and Senate and was signed into law on October 27, 2000.