Showing posts with label Congressional Gold Medal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Congressional Gold Medal. Show all posts

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Montford Point Marine Charles C. Payne Passed Away

Local Montford Point Marine dies at age 89
Times and Democrat
November 21, 2014

Charles C. Payne of Orangeburg was a quiet warrior of sorts, having served from 1942 to 1949 as one of the first African-Americans to enter the U.S. Marine Corps and then as a faithful mentor at a local elementary school.

The 89-year-old died at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia on Tuesday, leaving a legacy of which his community can be proud.

Payne served at Montford Point Camp, a segregated camp affiliated with Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was one of approximately 37 Montford Point Marines who gathered at the U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington on Aug. 26, 2011, for a recognition program honoring the first African-Americans in the Marine Corps.

He went on in 2012 to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his World War II service.

Payne served as chaplain of the Greater Orangeburg Leathernecks No. 1259 Marine Corps League.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Congress honors American Indian code talkers

Congress honors American Indian code talkers
Henry C. Jackson
November 20, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — For decades, the wartime service of 96-year-old Edmond Harjo and other American Indian ‘‘code talkers’’ was something that wasn’t even officially acknowledged, let alone publically recognized.

But on Wednesday, Harjo sat in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall soaking in a standing ovation from hundreds of people — after an introduction from House Speaker John Boehner.

Harjo, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, is one of the last surviving members of a group of American Indians who used their native language to outwit the enemy and protect U.S. battlefield communications during World Wars I and II. In a ceremony Wednesday, congressional leaders formally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to American Indians known as code talkers honoring the service of 33 tribes.

From his seat, Lyle Cook watched the applause for Harjo and a procession of speeches proudly, with a lump in his throat.

Cook is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota. He said all he could think about were members of his tribe who served in World Wars I and II but didn’t live to receive the formal recognition that has been more than 70 years in coming.

‘‘It is wonderful, but it is a bittersweet moment,’’ said Cook, 52, an Army veteran. ‘‘I wish they were here.’’

Code talkers were represented Wednesday by tribal delegations, many in traditional dress, who packed Emancipation Hall. They represented 33 tribes from states including Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Members of American Indian tribes heroically exchanged sensitive military information by speaking to each other in their native tongues on the battlefield, eluding enemies trying to break U.S. military codes and dramatically speeding up the military’s ability to communicate.
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Saturday, November 3, 2012

One of the first female pilots talks about WWII

Winter Parker one of first female military pilots
By Brittni Johnson
October 31, 2012

Photo by Isaac Babcock Patricia Erickson shows her Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to her for contributing to the Women Airforce Service Pilots program, volunteering her flying skills to help the World War II efforts.

Being at the controls of a plane thousands of feet above the ground felt as safe as home for Patricia Chadwick Erickson.

For the men who were part of her crew, the experience wasn’t the same. She said they white-knuckled it all the way as she “rocked” her B-25 bomber from take-off to the landing. They weren’t ever sure a woman could do it safely — flying a plane was surely a man’s job.

“A lot of the men didn’t trust us,” Erickson said.

But they learned. Eventually they’d admit, surprised, that she was a good pilot after all. It was 1943, and Erickson was part of the second class of women to learn to fly military aircraft and be a part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. All the children in her family — two brothers and a sister — volunteered along with her.

Erickson, now a 92-year-old Winter Park resident, was one of 25,000 women to apply to be a WASP and one of the 1,074 to successfully complete the grueling program out of 1,879 candidates who were accepted. The WASP members were considered civilians then, and their role was to free up Air Force men for combat military roles. They’d ferry soldiers from military base to military base, test out new planes and engines, fly planes to get repairs and make sure previously broken planes were safe to fly again.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Honor for Marine came just in time

Honor for Marine came just in time
October 2, 2012

BACK IN JUNE, I got a handwritten note from Lawrence “Reggie” Lucas. He asked whether I might be interested in mentioning that he’d be getting some recognition for a long-ago stint in the Montford Point Marines.

He said his daughter, Cheryl Hepburn, and son-in-law, Marty, would be driving him to Washington to receive a Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the Marine Corps’ first all-black unit.

The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor; George Washington was among the recipients.

I dropped by Lucas’ home in Spotsylvania County for an interview a few days later. After greeting me in the driveway, he welcomed me inside and told his story of the black men who received little recognition during World War II and for long afterward.

At 88, he was articulate, with a vivid memory and a wicked sense of humor that had me wishing our two-hour visit had been longer.
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Friday, September 28, 2012

WPVI News doesn't know difference between Medal of Honor and Congressional Gold Medal

Congressional Gold Medal and this is Medal of Honor.
How could a news station care so little about what they reported on they made a mistake like this?

One more thing to notice is the title itself. "Old living" and not Oldest.

Old living Marine receives Medal of Honor
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Lisa Thomas-Laury
Action News

MONTGOMERY CO, Pa. - September 27, 2012 (WPVI) -- A trail-blazing Marine from Montgomery County has received the nation's highest civilian honor, but that's not all that distinguishes Richard Washington from others.'

He is also the oldest living Marine to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

At the age of 102, Richard Washington is finally getting his due.

Richard Washington was among the first African American marines to break the U.S. Marine Corp's strict racial barrier during World War II.

"God bless me, one of these days, I want to be a Marine, but they didn't want me," said Washington.

While other branches of the military had opened the door for blacks, the Marines upheld a policy of exclusion.

"But when the president gave that order in 1942," he said; that's when he was able to enlist.
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

White Marines rally behind Montford Point buddy

White Marines rally behind Montford Point buddy
By Deborah Circelli
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ORMOND BEACH —While they couldn't train together more than 65 years ago because their skin is a different color, four local Marines wanted to be sure their fellow black Marine and friend received the recognition he deserved.

Christopher Royall, 89, of Ormond Beach will receive one of the last Congressional Gold Medals — the highest civilian honor — given to Montford Point Marines for breaking barriers as the first blacks to serve in the Marine Corps during World War II.

About 20,000 black Marine recruits were trained from 1942 to 1949 at the segregated Montford Point in North Carolina until the training base was deactivated after President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order ending segregation in the Armed Forces. Replica Congressional Gold Medals were placed over the heads of about 350 surviving Montford Marines at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in June and another 26 to family members. In total, close to 500 medals have been issued, some at private ceremonies for those who couldn't travel.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Montford Marines WWII groundbreakers

Montford Marines, the first black Marines, to get highest civilian honor
The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.
Published: June 24, 2012

Few people know their story.

Unlike the Army's Triple Nickels and the Army Air Corps' Tuskegee Airmen, the history of the groundbreakers who went through Montford Point has been largely overlooked.

Fayetteville's James Robert Simpson was among the roughly 20,000 Marines who lived it, training on a small, swampy peninsula jutting into the New River on the North Carolina coast. The World War II veteran, the eldest son of a farming couple from rural Cumberland County, was a "Point man" - one of the first blacks to serve in the Marine Corps.

"I'm proud of that," Simpson said. "To be a part of history, for sure."

At 88 and in poor health, he plans to fly to Washington this week to attend two ceremonies paying tribute to the fighting men known as the Montford Point Marines. These veterans will receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

About 400 of the estimated 420 living Montford Point veterans are expected to attend. In addition to Simpson, five men from Fayetteville are expected to make the trip: Robert Burns Sr., Cosmas Eaglin Sr., Linwood Haith, David Montgomery and Joseph Stinchcomb, said Capt. Kendra Motz, a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps.

"It's most of them, which is awesome," Motz said.

Simpson said he will go to Washington, where he and his fellow Marines will receive a bronze replica of the medal, with mixed feelings.
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I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Foreman in February.

Last night at the Orlando Nam Knights there was a surprise guest. Charles O. Foreman, a WWII veteran, member of the Montford Point Marines came. He is part of the group of Marines receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. At 87 he is just amazing. No matter what he had to go through because of the color of his skin, he'd do it all over again. He credits the Marines with making him the man he is today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WWII Montford Point Marines Receive Congressional Gold Medal

WWII Montford Point Marines Receive Congressional Gold Medal
Coral Anika Theill

"The Montford Point Marines' selfless service and sacrifice during a time when their contributions to our nation were not fully appreciated or recognized have made this country a better place for all Americans.” –Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos

L to R LtCol Joseph Carpenter, USMC (Ret), Sgt Earl Evans, USMC (Ret), SSgt Eugene Groves, USMC (Ret), and GySgt Reuben McNair, USMC (Ret) on the Capitol Steps. (Photo: Courtesy of the office of Rep. Corrine Brown)

(WASHINGTON DC) - Seventy years since the first African- American Marine recruit reported to train at the segregated camp called Montford Point at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the Montford Point Marines are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

The fact that African-Americans went through the rigorous training of Marines when the Corps was segregated and while they were treated as inferiors in our society, speaks loudly about the courage and dedication of each and every one of the Montford Point Marines.

There are approximately 500 surviving members of the almost 20,000 original Montford Point Marines. Every properly documented surviving Montford Point Marine or lineal descendant of one who was alive as of Nov. 23, 2011 when the President signed the bill into law will receive an invitation to the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony.

The Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, in honor of the original Montford Point Marines, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 27 at 3 p.m. at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Washington D.C. The Montford Point Marines will be recognized by Congress for their contributions to the Marine Corps and our nation. At this ceremony, one Congressional Gold Medal will be accepted on behalf of the Montford Point Marines. Attendance at this event is by invitation only.
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I interviewed Charles Foreman at the Orlando Nam Knights Clubhouse when he came for a visit.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Montford Point Marines to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Montford Point Marines to receive Congressional Gold Medal
June 03, 2012
The Montford Point Marines will be awarded Congress’ highest civilian award later this month.

"It’s been a long time coming," said retired Sgt. Maj. Nethaniel James, president of the Montford Point Marine Association, Camp Lejeune, Chapter 10. "I think it’s well deserved and it’s long been waited on."

Congress announced recently that a ceremony will be held June 27 in Washington D.C. to award the Montford Point Marines the Congressional Gold Medal.

The Montford Point Marines were the first blacks to ever serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. Overall, 19,168 black men trained at the segregated Montford Point in Jacksonville from 1942 to 1949.
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In February I interviewed Charles Forman at the Orlando Nam Knights Club House
Feb 12, 2012 Last night at the Orlando Nam Knights there was a surprise guest. Charles O. Foreman, a WWII veteran, member of the Montford Point Marines came. He is part of the group of Marines receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. At 87 he is just amazing. No matter what he had to go through because of the color of his skin, he'd do it all over again. He credits the Marines with making him the man he is today.

Friday, February 10, 2012

WWII veteran from Hawaii earns Congressional Gold Medal

W.W.II soldier from Lahaina earns Congressional Gold Medal
February 9, 2012

LAHAINA - Beginning in the early 1900s, Japanese culture spread across the United States with immigration to diverse areas in metropolitan pockets and island locales. Though widespread to all corners of the country - as well as across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii - the influence of the Japanese presence had a deep and profound effect in those neighborhoods labeled fondly as the "Lil' Tokyos" and "Japantowns" in those areas.

Perhaps due to geographic similarities of the island nation of Japan and emerging territory of the United States, that influence seemed to run deeper in Hawaii than in the city existence, such as New York, Los Angeles or Seattle. Island living in the middle of the Pacific more resembled that of the Far East nation with seaside villages, subsistence farming and aquaculture these immigrants were used to.

Regardless of where the Japanese settled, the ethical standards of their character - mainly respect, courtesy, duty, kindness, persistence and honor - were carried forth through these pioneers, the Issei or first-generation immigrants, to their offspring, the Nisei or second-generation.

In this strength of character, the Nisei, the Japanese Americans, made great progress toward attaining the American Dream of owning a home and raising a family all across the United States, from New York to Hilo and all the "Lil' Tokyos" in between during the first half of the 20th Century.
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Montford Point Marines Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Park Forest Man Awarded Congressional Gold Medal
SUNDAY, 18 DECEMBER 2011 20:56

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- They enlisted to fight for their country during a time of war. In return, they were often ridiculed, taunted, and scorned.

They worked even harder to prove themselves, segregated because of the color of their skin, training separately at Montford Point, North Carolina. They excelled. They gave their all.

Most are now gone.

On November 23, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines. Park Forest resident Sergeant Ed Fizer, USMC, retired, is among the approximate 200 remaining members of the Montford Point Marines who will be honored with the nation's highest civilian honor for distinguished achievement.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Marine Corps pushing for congressional medal for first black Marines

Marine Corps pushing for congressional medal for first black Marines amid push to diversify

By Associated Press, Published: August 2

SAN DIEGO — The top leader of the Marine Corps said Tuesday that he wants the first black members of the Marines to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and hopes their story will inspire more black men and women to join the Corps and rise through its ranks.

Commandant Gen. James Amos told hundreds of Marine Corps officers at the National Naval Officers Association meeting that it was time for Congress to honor the group known as the Montford Point Marines.

About 20,000 black Marines underwent basic training in the 1940s after President Franklin D. Roosevelt integrated the Marine Corps. They were trained at the segregated Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C., as racism continued in the Marine Corps and society.

The black troops were not allowed to enter the main base of nearby Camp Lejeune unless accompanied by a white Marine.

By 1945, many of the black recruits had become drill instructors and non-commissioned officers at Montford Point. The segregated camp was closed down in 1949 and black recruits were sent to Parris Island and Camp Pendleton like all new Marines. The Corps was fully integrated during the Korean War.

The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded to a civilian or group of civilians as the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.
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Marine Corps pushing for congressional medal for first black Marines

Friday, August 21, 2009

Judge Robert Decatur, Tuskegee Airmen has died

Local Tuskegee Airman Dies
Friday, August 21, 2009 8:38:36 AM

TITUSVILLE -- A distinguished member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen has died.

Judge Robert Decatur retired to Titusville after a career in law in Cleveland.

He was one of 14 children, and overcame discrimination to earn several degrees and to serve his country in two wars.

Decatur fought hard for civil rights, and helped organize a campaign to allow African-Americans to vote.

As a judge, he heard more than 10,000 cases, and taught at six law schools.

He was also given the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush in 2007.

Robert Decatur died on Aug. 19. He was 88.
go here for slide show

Sunday, June 14, 2009

WWII Tuskegee Airmen Roger Bill Terry dies at 87

Roger 'Bill' Terry dies at 87; member of WWII Tuskegee Airmen
Liz O. Baylen, Los Angeles Times
Roger Terry holds a picture of his younger self.
Terry was the only member of the unit convicted in the Freeman Field Mutiny, in which black officers plotted to integrate an all-white officer's club in Indiana in 1945. He was pardoned in 1995.
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
June 14, 2009
Roger "Bill" Terry, the only member of the all-black group of World War II pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen convicted in what became known as the Freeman Field Mutiny, died of heart failure Thursday at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. He was 87.

Terry, born in Los Angeles on Aug. 13, 1921, earned an athletic scholarship to UCLA, where he played basketball and roomed with Jackie Robinson.
Terry did not shy away from discussing his discharge.

"It was a badge of honor for him," Jeff Terry said of his father's discharge. "He was never bitter about it. He was in fact quite proud of it."

On Aug. 2, 1995, the Army pardoned him, restored his rank and refunded his $150 fine. Two years ago, Terry and several other airmen collectively received a Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush in Washington.
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WWII Tuskegee Airmen Roger Bill Terry dies at 87