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Nov-09-2011 01:03printcommentsVideo

Congressional Gold Medal for Montford Point Marines

"A nation that forgets its heroes is a nation destined to be forgotten." - President Calvin Coolidge

Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos
Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, speaks with former Montford Point Marines at a Marine breakfast in Washington, D.C. Montford Point was a racially segregated Marine Corps training facility at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ben Flores)

(QUANTICO, Va.) - James F. Amos, a four-star general who serves as Commandant of the Marine Corps, says the Montford Point Marines, and the ones who have passed, are as equally important to the history of the Marine Corps as the Tuskegee Airmen are to the Air Force and the Buffalo Soldiers are to the Army.

"As such, we are working aggressively with legislators on Capitol Hill to confer the Congressional Gold Medal this year on the Montford Point Marines for their service to the United States from World War II to the Vietnam Era, forever anchoring their role in the history of our great Nation," Amos explained.

Dear Readers,

On October 25, 2011, the House of Representatives unamimously passed House Bill HR2447 for the Congressional Gold Medal for the Montford Point Marines. The legislation is now awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate.

The Congressional Gold Medal is long past due. If the Senate does not approve the Congressional Gold Medal for the Montford Point Marines soon,

they will miss the opportunity to meet and honor the original Montford Point Marines, the unsung heroes who have fought so passionately for this country.

Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos and staff have put a great amount of effort in advocating for the passage of this bill.  It is the Commandant's hope that this legislation will pass by the Marine Corps Birthday, Nov. 10, 2011.

"Representative Corrine Brown of Florida has recently introduced a bill in the House, and Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina intends to introduce a companion bill in the Senate this upcoming week. While they are providing staunch support to this award … I need your help to urge all legislators in Washington to move quickly in making this Congressional Gold Medal a reality.  It’s long overdue … we need to quit admiring this oversight and make this happen!" - Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos, National Montford Point Marine Association Ball, July 30, 211, Atlanta, GA

GENERAL AMOS, THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINES, SAID HE WANTS EVERY MARINE, FROM PRIVATE TO GENERAL, TO KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE MARINES WHO FOUGHT AN ENEMY OVERSEAS, AND RACISM AND SEGREGATION IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY. I WANT EVERY MARINE, AND EVERY AMERICAN, TO KNOW THAT HISTORY.

In support of the Congressional Gold Medal for the Montford Point Marines, please call and/or write your Senator today.
Most of the Montford Point Marines that are still alive are in their late 80's.  We need to give them the  recognition they deserve while they are alive to enjoy it.

Sixty-seven co sponsors are needed for Senate Bill S.1527 to be sent to the floor for a vote.  

You can check the website:  www.thomas.loc.gov to see who has co sponsored the bill and the Senators who you should call in support of this bill.   

*Senator Phone and Email Contact List: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Corporal James Ferguson with Lieutenant General Walter E. Gaskin, Sr. (USMC)
- Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee. Photo Credit: Coral Anika Theill

 
For more information contact:

 
Sponsor of the bill:
Florida Rep. Corrine Brown (D)
3rd District, 10th Term
2336 Rayburn House

Washington D.C. 20515
 
Lead Sponsor: 
Senator Kay Hagan (D)
North Carolina

521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 

An incredible video about the Montford Point Marines, titled Honoring the bravery of the Montford Point Marines , tells the story of approximately 20,000 African Americans enlisted in the Marine Corps from 1942-1949 - a time when the U.S. was at war, and the country was resistant to integration. 

These brave men became known as the "Montford Point Marines" and they paved the way for the Marine Corps for generations to follow.

The program features Marine Corps Commandant General James F. Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Michael Barrett discussing the history of the Montford Point Marines, and includes interviews with Lieutenant General Walter E. Gaskin, Sr., Major General Charles L. Bolden, Jr. (Ret.), and Lieutenant General Frank Petersen, Jr. (Ret.) are also featured in this important historical record.

Montford Point Marines Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Carpenter, Sergeant Gene Doughty, Master Gunnery Sergeant Nathaniel Hosea, Jr., Private First Class Kenneth Rollock as well as many other Montford Point Marines are included in this video.

Lt Gen Walter E. Gaskin, Sr., Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee, shares his admiration of the Montford Point Marines:

"You can't think about being a Marine without thinking about the Montford Pointers because they are the beginning. You often question yourself, 'Could I have done that? Could I have had the perserverance to come and to join an organization, first, that didn't want you and, two, to have the history of being the last service to integration.'  You want to think, 'Can you step into the footsteps of these giants and the legacy for which they have left you, and that you measure up.'  Their inspiration is beyond words because of what they [Montford Point Marines] have done as a part of that fabric of the American history."   - Honoring their Bravery - Documentary

___________________________________________

MONTFORD POINT MARINE LEGACY

"The Montford Point Marines are often honored as important figures and role models in American history because they willingly fought to protect a nation that did not offer them basic civil rights.  African-American men were willing to give their lives for their country at a time when they still were subjected to lynching and racism in their communities, without the protection of our government.

"The battle that took place from 1939 to 1945 for world freedom has been referred to as America's war. But while American troops fought the horror of World War II, the Montford Point Marines fought a second battle - one for equal treatment.

Click image to see the Montford Marine photos individually.

"Like the Army, Air Force and Navy, today's Marine Corps is fully integrated, but for generations the Marines did not admit African-Americans. The racial integration of the American military was a lengthy process that started in 1941. The Marine Corps today contains many successful members and leaders, who trace their lineage to the group known as the "Montford Pointers."

"General James T. Conway, 34th Commandant, said in a 26 Aug. 2010, speech at the Montford Point Marines' Day ceremony at Camp Johnson, N.C., "We all know it [segregation] didn't end there, but it was the beginning of the end of segregation in our country.  The Montford Point Marines, the Tuskegee Airmen and others had, through their courage, persistence and performance, done more in four years to advance the cause of equality  than had been accomplished by the whole of society during the previous 75 years."

The Montford Point Marines were diligent in their duties.  They fought with courage, served honorably and won the respect of those who served with them.  The African-American Marines accomplished everything that was expected and asked of them. They helped to change history by demonstrating racial harmony on the chaotic beaches and battlefields around the world.  Many of the Montford Point Marines would help influence the civil rights movement that was to come."  - Leatherneck Magazine, February 2011, Coral Anika Theill

"The fact that African-Americans went through the rigorous training of Marines when it was segregated and while they were treated in a disparaging manner in our society, speaks loudly about the courage and dedication of each and every one of the Montford Point Marines. The Montford Point Marines wore their uniform with great pride and laid the foundation for many other black Marines to follow. The indignities they endured opened the doors to people like Sergeant Major Alford McMichael, USMC, Ret., Major General Clifford Stanley, USMC, Ret., and MajGen Charles Bolden, Jr., USMC, Ret. We must learn from our history, try and understand the pain and suffering the Montford Point Marines were willing to endure, and build a better framework for our future upon that foundation." - Salem-News.com, July 2010, Coral Anika Theill

"Truth crushed to the earth will rise again." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Respectfully,
 
Coral Anika Theill
Author, Advocate & Free Lance Reporter
Contributing Writer for Leatherneck Magazine

and Salem-News.com


Editor's Note:  Coral Anika Theill is an author and advocate whose published works address trauma recovery and healing from post traumatic stress and, most recently, wounded Marines, the Warrior Games and Montford Point Marines.  Coral's most recent articles "Exclusive Interview:  The Commandant of the Marine Corps On Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury" and "Invisible Battle Scars:  Confronting the Stigma of PTS and TBI"  http://www.woundedwarriorregiment.org/documents/pao/Leatherneck_Oct_PTS_TBI.pdf were published in the October 2011 Leatherneck Magazine issue.

Also see: Bipartisan Senators Urge Passage of Montford Marines Congressional Gold Medal Bill Salem-News.com

Additional Articles and Links on the Montford Point Marines of World War II:

World War II:  Montford Point Marines - Honoring and Preserving Their Legacy at Leatherneck Magazine - February 2011 (Page 18 - 21) by Coral Anika Theill  
http://www.leatherneckmagazine-digital.com/leatherneckmagazine/201102/?pg=21&pm=2&u1=friend

This link includes film footage of the Montford Point Marine Day at Camp Johnson, 26 Aug 2010 as well as many other pictures. 
www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/article/world-war-ii-montford-point-marines-honoring-and-preserving-their-legacy

Salute to the Montford Point Marines: Loyalty, Honor and Courage in the Face of Racism www.salem-news.com/articles/july122010/montford-pt-marines-ct.php

Montford Point Marine Legacy
www.marines.mil/searchcenter/Pages/Results.aspx?k=Montford%20Point%20Marines&s=All%20Sites

*See CMC Gen. James F. Amos speech at the National Montford Point Marine Association Ball, July 30, 211, Atlanta, GA (Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps - Prepared Remarks for the Montford Point Marine Assoc. 35th Annual National Convention and Banquet)

___________________________________________________
Coral Anika Theill, reporter and advocate, is author of "BONSHEA: Making Light of the Dark." Her book and articles have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines/soldiers recovering from PTSD. Coral's positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, attorneys, professors and authors. Coral Theill believes "The Gift of Healing is Our Birthright."

Coral Anika Theill’s published book, BONSHEA, has been used as a college text for nursing students at Linfield College. BONSHEA: Making Light of the Dark by Coral Anika Theill can be ordered at: iuniverse.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com Email:  coraltheill@hotmail.com




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Coral Anika Theill November 10, 2011 5:58 am (Pacific time)

The Senate unanimously approved late Wednesday, November 9, 2011, to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines, just in time for the Marine Corps’ 236th anniversary today and Veterans Day on Friday. Congratulations to the Montford Point Marines! "Truth crushed to the earth will rise again." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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©2019 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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