Newsletters & Information > MPMA NATIONAL UPDATE May 2005  

May 23, 2005

Fellow members, friends,

First on this month’s update is to welcome the many new
members that have joined either by membership or by support
of the Montford Point Marine Association. Once again I
would like to remind all recipients that this email list is
for MPMA business only. Please do not forward unsolicited
non-MPMA business to anyone on this list. Our list
includes elected officials, many General Officers and
regular folk like me who do not want forwarded email sent.
Thank you for respecting this list.

That being said, it has truly been an extremely busy time
for the Association. The unfortunate death of Captain
Frederick Branch has brought some much deserved attention
to our organization. Many members and supporters worked
very hard complying with press requests and phone calls.
Special thanks again to our National Public Relations
Officer, Master Sergeant retired, Carmen Cordoba, for
fielding an unbelievable amount of phone calls and special
requests. Thanks also to Philadelphia Tribune Reporter and
Author, Yvonne Latty, who responded to a very short
deadline for a magazine article. Many of you met Yvonne at
last year’s convention. Yvonne authored the book We Were
There which featured short stories about the African
American experience in the armed forces. One of those
stories included Captain (USN) Thomas McPhatter and
Original Montford Pointer and Iwo Jima Survivor.

Yvonne is currently writing a new book chronicling the
experiences of service personnel in the current War on
Terrorism. Yvonne is looking for veterans with combat
experience for her book. Veterans can be of any branch or
service, any gender and any race. If you are a veteran of
the War on Terrorism, or know of any veterans that fit this
criteria, and would like to be considered for inclusion in
this book, please contact Yvonne at, or
contact me and I’ll put you in touch with Yvonne.

Convention 2005 Notes
The dates for our 40th Annual Convention are 13-17 July
2005 with the 13th and the 17th being travel days. Chicago
is hard at work to make our 40th Convention a memorable
event! Registration packages have been sent out to Chapters
detailing the events and cost. This year Chicago is
offering a discount for those who purchase packages for the
events in the amount of $25.00. Also members will be
allowed for the first time to purchase tickets by phone
utilizing their credit cards. Please contact John Vanoy at
773-487-1922 or at the Chicago Clubhouse at 773-873-6600.
Also, Chicago has set up a website at to help communicate
the latest convention information. Please visit this site
for the very latest on Convention ’05. We’ll see you in Chi
for 05!

We are asking all chapters to make sure our National
Recording Secretary, Regina Lawrence, has a current chapter
list of paid up members. Please forward your most current
chapter list to Regina immediately at: or

National Sergeant-at-arms, Mike Johnson is reminding all
Chapters to bring their Chapter Colors (Flags and Banners)
with them to Convention Chicago. Banners and flags will be
displayed in meeting rooms and if the hotel permits, at the
National Banquet. Flags make a great backdrop for the
events and for pictures. Chapters must bear the cost in
bringing or shipping these flags. For further information,
please contact Mike at; or 909-815-1972.

Resolutions Director, Alexandria Johnson, is asking that
all requests for resolution changes be sent to her
immediately. We are already past the deadline but if they
are sent immediately, they will be given consideration.
Please contact Alexandria directly at: 718-671-0011. or 100-8 Elgar Pl. #8E Bronx NY 10475

Queens Contest
Chapters are reminded that to remain financial with the
Association and to have a vote in the elections at this
year’s convention, they must meet the minimum Queens
Contest participation goals set forth in our by-laws of
$500.00 per chapter. The Queens Contest is the only
nationally sanctioned fundraiser of the year. Monies from
the contest help our operating budget that funds activities
such as the Museum Project and our Scholarship commitments.
Please make sure you turn in your raffle tickets to your
chapter representatives in a timely manner. Chapter
Representatives are reminded not to send the stubs in with
their report to National Special Projects Officer George
Herring, but to bring stubs with them to the convention.
Stubs will be matched with reports before they are placed
in the barrel for drawing. Any questions about the Queens
Contest can be addressed to George at 619-266-8180.

Convention Journal
Chapters and individuals are reminded that the deadline for
submitting items for the Convention Journal is 10 June.
Ads run from $500.00 (Outside back cover) to $60.00 (One
Quarter Page). All ads should be camera ready. If there
are any questions concerning the Journal, please direct
them to Southern Regional Vice President, Reuben McNair.
Rueben can be reached at 202-529-0845. Please mail Journal
Items to Rueben at 2617 24th Street NE, Washington, DC
20018. The point of contact in Chicago is Rochelle Crump
and she may be reached at 312-814-2744 or

Marine Corps Ball Celebrations
Chapters are reminded to submit request for guest speakers
for their annual balls/banquets and events early to ensure
you get your speaker of choice. Requests should be
submitted to the speaker in writing detailing all the
particulars about the event. Request for National Officers
should include whether the Chapter is reimbursing travel,
etc… For those Chapters having events, please let our
National Public Relations Officer Carmen Cordoba know as
soon as possible the dates, times, place, etc.. So that she
may post this information on the web. Again, the Ball
season is an excellent opportunity to educated Marines and
others about the Montford Pointers. For those located near
Marine Commands, request special recognition be given to
the Montford Pointers during these events.

1stSgt Ken Futch, Detachment 1, Ammo Company, Rome, GA, is
searching for an original Montford Point Marine to be the
guest of honor at their ball in Rome, GA on November 5th
2005. If you know of a Montford Pointer that is
interested, please call his cell phone; 678 923 7257 or
email the 1stSgt at; They will
provide transportation and lodging that would be required
to have a Montford Pointer as their guest of honor. The
First Sergeant retires on July 31st of this year and would
like to ensure the story of Montford Point gets out to his
Marines before he retires.

1stSgt Ken Futch
Detachment 1, AMMO Co
Rome, Georgia 30165
706 234 1030 ext 222

Montford Point Marine Panelist Sought
Mrs. Kenitha Grooms-Williams is looking for Original
Montford Pointers who would be interested in attending the
“Hidden Faces of War” Symposium that will be held on July
3, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mrs. Grooms-Williams
has been working in the public relations/advertising
industry for over 10 years and is currently employed with
an agency that is a representative of the National D-day
Museum in New Orleans. Although the Museum has been
visited by millions of people and has reached out to
numerous veterans organizations since its conception in
2000, it is her belief that they have neglected to reach
out to the African American units that played a major role
in World War II. Therefore, she has partnered with a
Marketing/Entertainment Firm to host this event. Mrs.
Grooms-Williams is seeking panelists to participate in this
event. As the world commemorates the 60th anniversary of
the end of World War II, numerous events will be held to
honor servicemen and women that contributed to the fight
for peace and freedom. However, many of these events have
neglected to encompass African American service members and
instead have chosen to view their roles as insignificant
and in some cases nonexistent. The “Hidden Faces of War”
Symposium was established to give African American veterans
a platform to share their experiences and the issues they
faced during World War II. The event will take place
during the 4th of July weekend to give the citizens of New
Orleans and its surrounding area the opportunity to
celebrate their independence while at the same time praise
the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to
ensure liberty and justice for all. The city will also be
hosting the Essence Festival, which will enable us to reach
millions of others that share our belief of the importance
of such an event. If you have any questions please feel
free to Mrs. Groom-Williams at 504-912-2157 or

In search of:
My name is Lorretta (Lorrie) D. Wrenn. My father, Thomas S.
Dlugos was the Company Commander for the 49th USMC Depot
Company (all black) on Guam.  He was the only commander who
refused to carry a weapon – other commanders thought it was
necessary because the troops were black. Dad only remembers
the names of two of the men - Rufus McKenzie and Heiner
(sp?) Thomas.  There was a reunion of the black Marines
from Montford Point in Detroit in 1978 and my Dad just
missed seeing Thomas there -
Dad was at the same hotel but for a different occasion. Can
you help me find one or two of these Marines who trained at
Montford Point? I would like to put them in touch with my
Dad who has had open heart surgery twice, colon cancer
twice and had a stroke May 2, 2004.  Please help me if you
can or put me in contact with someone who can. Thank you so
much, Lorrie. or

Congratulations to Lieutenant Colonel Denice Williams who
recently retired from the Marine Corps. Lieutenant Colonel
Williams has played a very active role in our Association
for many years. She was honored at last year’s New York
Chapter’s birthday celebration. We wish LtCol Williams
nothing but the best in her retirement and I know she will
continue to play an important role within the Association.

Congratulations to Beaufort Chapter member Ricky Phillips
who was recently promoted to Master Gunnery Sergeant!
Ricky gain notoriety for introducing Guest Speakers at
Beaufort’s MPMA events without notes! Congratulations Ricky
on this well deserved promotion!

Many of you have already seen the fabulous picture taken at
the internment of Captain Frederick Branch of the
Commandant of the Marine Corps and nine current and retired
African American Marine General Officers. Special thanks
to former National Public Relations Officer, Master Gunnery
Sergeant Gilbert Taylor who superimposed the names, dates
and Marine Corps’ Emblem on this picture. We are hopeful
that we have a similar gathering of these historic
individuals at the Chicago Convention.

Convention Standing Operating Procedures
The Convention SOP is has been updated and is currently
being re-typed. A draft of the changes will be sent to
each member of the Executive Council for review.
Convention SOP will not be sent to those chapters who have
not had representation at the last two conventions/Spring
Council unless specifically requested. Executive Council
Members are requested to bring their copy of the draft and
any recommended changes to the Chicago Convention where we
will vote on the changes.

Johnnie C. Johnson, an Original Montford Point Marine and a
Musical Legend, expired on April 13, 2005.  Mr. Johnson was
eulogized on April 22, 2005 with interment services
immediately following at the National Cemetery in Jefferson
Barracks, MO. His funeral service was well attended by
both MPMA Chapters in St. Louis, MO, many friends,
musicians and fans from various places around the world. 
He is survived by his wife, Frances, and eleven (11)
children.  Mr. Johnson was born July 8, 1924 in Fairmont,
West VA.  He enlisted in the Corp in 1943 and was one of
the first 1500 Black Marines.  He served overseas in the
Marshall Islands.  Johnnie played the piano and was in the
company band which was called the "Barracudas".  The band
played at many U.S.O. Shows while overseas.

Dining out with Major General Clifford Stanley
The Staff Non-Commissioned Officers of the beltway area
will host a Dining Out on Saturday the 27th of August 2005
at the Spates Community Club, 214 McNair Road, Arlington,
Virginia. The Guest of Honor is Major General retired
Clifford L. Stanley. The cost for Field Grade Officers is
$50.00, Company Grade (Blue Dress Alpha) $40.00, SNCO
(Evening Dress) $40.00, Civilian (gentlemen, black tie,
ladies, formal attire) $40.00. All checks should be
received NLT August 5th. Checks should be made payable to
“Bernard H. Colebrook Order of the Sword” Please mail
checks to;

Bernard H. Colebrook
Post Office Box 234
Quantico, VA 22134-0234.
Tickets may be fully refunded if cancelled by 4:00PM July
15th. The point of contact is Bernard H. Colebrook (work)
202-874-5311 (home) 540-720-2633 or email; .
Proceeds from the Dining Out will be used for Scholarship
America “Dollars for Scholarship”

As always, please continue to check our official website
for more information through the Association at or or or

Please find a copy of the Marine Corps League
Magazine Spring 2005.Vol.61, No 2, there is an article
about Sergeant Major deceased Louis Roundtree, the most
decorated Marine to graduate from Montford Point.

Please continue to do all that you do to Preserve the
Legacy of our heroes!

Semper Fidelis!

Joe Geeter
Master Gunnery Sergeant (retired)
National Vice President
Montford Point Marine Association
27 Red Tail Court
Limerick, PA 19468



Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD


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