Unrecognized History of Revolutionary America Brought to Light
American Revolution to WWII
The American Revolution brought the formation of the United States Marine Corps in 1775. The Corps became a part of a long military history that included fighting along with allies at various times among the French, Germans, Native Americans, Japanese US Citizens, former black slaves, and African Americans. Other ethnic groups fighting for America since the beginning of the New Nation are coming to light every month through research publicatons and media spotlights.
A very effective security guard I once employed had served in the US Navy, worked in the private sector and continued to work throughout his retirement years as well. Rarely have I seen an individual work so long in life. He used to tell stories about his days in a US submarine during World War II. Although he showed no acrimony, one situation must have been hard to take.
This US Navy man worked and fought side by side with all the rest of the crew and officers on board his submarine. However, at night, he was required to sleep in the boiler room, because US laws required separate quarters for blacks and he was the only black on the sub. This cannot have been easy to swallow.
Some US Submarines, WWII Era
- USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum & Park
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
- USS COD HOMEPAGE
- USS PAMPANITO TOUR
- WWII US Submarine Warfare Pacific World War II 1941-1945
World War II U.S. military history American fleet submarines unrestricted warfare campaign against Japan
Fair Employment Practice Laws
Many African Americans served in WWII, winning medals that have not bee awarded unto the end of th 20th or early 21st centuries. Currently, few people have not heard of the Tuskegee Airmen and their record of never having a lost a single Flying Fortress or any other plane there were assigned to escort and protect. However, the USMC may have been the last hold out against racial integration among the military branches. What happened?
On June 25, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued his Executive Order No. 8802.
Well before EEOC and the Civil Rights Movement, this 1941 order put into motion a fair employment practice law or regulation against discrimination in the United States Armed Forces. That included all the forces: Army, Army Air Corps/US Air Force, Navy, Merchant Marine, Coast Guard, and USMC. A special board of research under FDR studied full racial integration among servicemen in the Composite Defense Battalion.
Later on, in 1942, FDR proclaimed the African Americans could serve in the USMC. The signed up from all over the USA. However, when they reported for duty, they did not report to the usual San Diego or Parris Island boot camps. The were segregated away and sent to Montford Point at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina from 1942 through 1949.
The Montford Point Marines Association and a number of historians feel that the USMC had originally planned to train and hold 20,000 African American marines until after the war and release them without combat service or any service outside Camp Lejeune. Regardless, so many troops were lost in WWII, that the Montford Point servicemen were sent to the battlefronts, where they proved as effective as any other Marines.
Eventually, in the spring of 1974, the Montford Point Camp received a new name: Camp Johnson. This name honors one of the first recruits at Montford Point. This is the legendary Major Gilbert H. "Hashmark" Johnson, who was among the first group of black drill instructors in USMC history. After WWII, he also fought in the Korean War.
During WWII, the Montford Pointers served not only at Montford Point, but also in Allen Island, Guam, Iwo Jima, Maui, Nagasaki (cleaning up the ash from the bomb), New Caledonia, Oahu, Okinawa, Saipan, and Sesebo.
Jumping ahead to 1965. the Montford Point Marine Association began holding National Reunions to gather back together the living among the 20,000 recruits from the early years. Quite successful, the association is enjoyed in state branches in over 70% of the USA.
More USMC History: Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey
While most of the original USMC recruits at Montford Point are deceased, the remaining number were honored in October 2011. Those survivors are in their late 80s at least and those are the men that were barely 18 when they signed up to become a US Marine. Some are older.
Some shed tears when they recall coming back to the USA from fighting - and cleaning up - in Japan and the South Pacific, then facing forced use of the "colored entrance" or sitting like Rosa Parks at the back of a bus. Vietnam Veterans overall felt disrespected and unappreciated when they returned home, but the Montford Point Marines must have felt worse. Living condtions at their portion of Camp Lejeune were much less than optimal.
The Tuskegee Airmen have movies (Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tail) documenting their accomplishments, but the Montford group has no recognition and is largely unkown. However, the US Congress is considering the Congressional Gold Medal for them iin 2011.
Regardless of the medal, USMC Commandant Gen. James Amos has declared mandatory training for all Marines of all ranks on the subject and history of the Montford Point Marines from here forward. They will no longer be forgotten.