Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ware
SgtMaj. Michael Barrett, 17th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, personally thanks every Montford Point Marine in attendance before a Congressional Gold Medal presentation ceremony at the historic parade grounds of Marine Barracks Washington June 28. In 1942, President Roosevelt established a presidential directive giving African Americans an opportunity to be recruited into the Marine Corps. Between 1942 and 1949 approximately 20,000 African American Marines received basic training at the segregated Montford Point instead of the traditional boot camps of Parris Island, S.C. and San Diego, Calif. These men fought for their country with honor and valor that are hallmarks of the Corps, but they were not treated as equals to their white counterparts at the time. Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, set out to begin to right this wrong when he invited the Montford Point Marines to the Barracks Aug. 26, 2011 to be the guests of honor at a Friday Evening Parade, bringing their story to the national forefront and starting a chain of events that lead to this historic day.
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