Newsletters & Information > Roundtree, died suddenly
Roundtree, died suddenly

May 2, 2007

Fellow members and friends,

I can say that the months of February and March 2007 have
seen the most activity and publicity in the history of our
Association! Three years ago if you “googled” “Montford
Point” on the internet you would have received about 1000
“hits”. I Googled Montford Point a few days ago and
received over 26,000 hits!!!! From San Diego, California
to our Nation’s Capital Washington, DC, our members and
National Officers have been extremely active in telling
Americans about the rich history of the Montford Pointers.
I am extremely grateful for all the positive phone calls,
emails and mailings that I have received over the past 60
days. Before we get into the details of those events, the
death of a very long time supporter and icon of the
Association has passed. Famie Roundtree, wife of the
legendary Montford Pointer Sergeant Major Louis Roundtree,
died suddenly on April 11th 200.. Famie has been an advisor
and supporter of many past National Presidents including
me, Nat James Herman Rhett, Gene Doughty, Sam Saxton and
Jerome Milbourn. Famie was a mainstay at many past
National Convention and local chapter events. The Sergeant
Major now has his bride at his side in Heaven.

HEADLINE NEWS
Spring Council: The Spring Council dates are 3-6 May with
the 3rd and the 6th being travel days. The site of
Convention 2007 will be Jacksonville, Florida. The number
to the hotel is 800-233-1234 or 904-588-1234. Both the
Spring Council and the National Convention will be held at:
The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront which offers 966
sleeping rooms with 110,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The
Regency is located in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville
along the St. John’s River. Adjacent to the Hyatt is the
Jacksonville Landing, a riverfront festival marketplace and
our city is surrounded by ocean & golf. Please visit their
web-site at www.jacksonville.hyatt.com.

The main point of contact for the Spring Council is the
Jacksonville Chapter President, James Tippins. Mr Tippins
may be reached at 904-768-0687 or at email at;
jtip752178@aol.com

All members should have received a copy of the
February/March 2007 National Update via US Postal Mail by
now. Please make your reservations are early so that our
host chapter can plan for room sizes and other activities
during our Council. Chapters are constantly reminded to
ensure that our National Recording Secretary, Regina
Lawrence, has the most up-to-date member roster to that
members receive this information timely and that the
Association does not spend money mailing to addresses that
are not current.

Chapter Presidents are reminded that Award recommendations
are due to the Awards Chair, West Region Vice President,
Nathaniel Hosea, by our Spring Council. Please refer to
our National by-laws and the letter that Nate sends out to
ensure that you are in compliance and that the much
deserved individuals receive recognition for the hard work
they put into our Association.

Chapters are also reminded to submit their recommendations
for resolutions to our by-laws at least 60 days prior to
our convention to the Resolutions Chairwoman, Alexandria
Johnson.

Executive Council Members: a detailed mailing was sent to
members of the National Executive Council in early March
that included; the Spring Council Agenda, The Journal
information and the latest National update. Please take
note of the Journal deadline and submit your Journal
Information to our National Journal Director Reuben McNair
as soon as possible. All Chapters are highly encouraged to
take out an ad in our Journal that includes a picture of
your members or a list of members who could not make the
picture.

South Carolina State University sponsored an exclusive
showing of the Documentary The Marines of Montford Point on
Monday, March 12th, 2007 at Barbara A. Vaughn Recital Hall
at their campus in Orangeburg, South Carolina. I attended
this event along with our National Chaplain, Reverend James
Moore, who provided the invocation at the luncheon that
followed the screening. Also in attendance were our
National Museum Director, Finney Greggs and his wife
Louise, National Quartermaster and PNVP Elijah Abram, Past
National Public Relations Officer, Master Gunnery Sergeant
Gilbert Taylor, National Historian, Original Montford
Pointer and retired Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Carpenter, as
well as a dozen Original Montford Pointers from our
Wilmington, Camp Lejeune, Louisville, and Beaufort
Chapters. US Senator Lindsay Graham, who was largely
responsible for securing the 500K grant from Congress to
make our Documentary a reality, was also in attendance and
pledged his continued support to ensure that our story
continues to be told. We also received a video message
from US Representative J, Clybourn who also played a large
role in securing funds for us. There were also numerous
elected officials from throughout South Carolina and school
officials from both the University of North Carolina
Wilmington and South Carolina State University. Special
thanks to Dr Luke who along with putting the program
together provided all who were at the luncheon with a
poster of the official program for the day. Six of our
Original Montford Pointers spent over an hour autographing
these posters and sharing their (our) stories with the
nearly 300 who gathered for a celebratory luncheon aboard
the campus of South Carolina State University. There were
also many senior enlisted Marines from Both Parris Island
and the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on board along
with many chapter members from Beaufort. Please visit the
following links for more about the historic day in our
Association;
http://thetandd.com/articles/2007/03/13/news/doc45f60058c0e73886187701.txt
http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/lookupstoryref/2007315151947
http://library.uncw.edu/web/montford/index.html

I’d like to personally thank members of the Beaufort
Chapter who arranged my billeting and transportation during
my visit to the Low Country, Mr. Elijah Abram and MGySgt
Gilbert Taylor. I spent 11 of my 25 plus years in the
Marine Corps in three tours to Beaufort and together with
many folks; help reestablish Beaufort as one the premier
Chapters in our Association, a chapter that has produced
five National Officers over the past 10 years, so my trip
was a homecoming of sorts. Thank you all!!

Documentary Update: By now Chapter Presidents and those
Montford Pointers who were interviewed should have received
their copy of the Documentary. Chapter Presidents are
encouraged to show this at their meetings and to share the
Documentary with members. The folks at UNCW are working
hard to bring this movie to the masses and to release it to
public television. The Documentary may be purchased through
the Montford Point Museum. The cost is $20.00 plus $5.00
S/H. Dr. Milton McLaurin’s book, America’s First Black
Marines “The Marines of Montford Point” may also be
purchased through the Museum for $29.95 plus $5.00 S/H.
Please contact Finney Greggs at 910-450-1340 or 450-1760.

MPMA Convention 2007: The dates for our 2007 convention in
Jacksonville, FLORIDA have been set. Convention will be
from 25-29 July with the 25th and 29th as travel days. We
envision the President’s reception once again being held on
the Wednesday travel day. The number to the Hyatt Regency
is 800-233-1234 or 904-588-1234. The Hyatt Regency
Jacksonville Riverfront offers 966 sleeping rooms with
110,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Regency is located in
the heart of Downtown Jacksonville along the St. John’s
River. Please make your reservations early. Convention
details will be mailed to Chapter Presidents soon after the
Spring Council. We also received three notifications of
interests for Convention 2008 and we look forward to
receiving additional information at the 2007 Spring
Council.

NAACP Convention 2007: The 2007 NAACP Convention will be
held in Detroit, MI from 7-12 July. We purposely scheduled
our convention not to conflict with the NAACP. For
detailed information about the NAACP Convention, please
visit their website at http://www.naacp.org/home/.

Black Marine Reunion 2007: the Second Black Marine Reunion
will be held at the Santa Fe Station Hotel & Casino in Las
Vegas from June 22nd through June 24th 2007. The cost for a
Marine is $85.00 and $145.00 for a couple. Bobby Wallace is
the point of contact for this reunion and he may be reached
at 352-259-2435 or bobbygator@comcast.net. These Marines
are not working in competition, rather in concert with the
Montford Pointers. We have shared member information so
that those who wish to participate can and are encouraged
to support both the Black Marine initiative and ours.

MPMA Convention 2008: Once again we find the Association
without a dedicated location for convention 2008. I implore
Chapters that are interested in holding a convention in
their area to be thoroughly prepared to brief the Spring
Council members in May. Chapters are reminded that we have
a very capable Convention Director, Past National President
Nathaniel James, who will work with you through the entire
process. The Convention is a great way to inject much
needed funds into the local chapter.

MUSTARD - Chapter/Region Happenings:
Louisville Chapter #22: Louisville Chapter #22 hosted the
3rd Annual Covington-Hagan Scholarship Banquet, March 17,
2007. There were about 115 people present. The guest
speaker was Maj. General Cornell Wilson who is currently
serving as Director, Reserve Affairs Division, Manpower &
Reserve Affairs, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps,
Quantico, Virginia. Also in attendance was Colonel Kenneth
Dunn, USMC Retired, three national officers, Anthony
Chestang, (Central Region V. Pres), Racine Wilson,
(National Sgt-at-Arms), Melcine Henderson, (National Pres.
Ladies Auxiliary). Chapters in attendance, Chicago Chapter
#2 had four members present and St. Louis Chapter #13 had
three members present. Six Original Montford Pointers were
in attendance, three from Chicago Chapter #2 and three from
Louisville Chapter #22.

Central Region: The Central Regional Meeting was hosted by
Saint Louis #13 February 2-4th. Central Regional Vice
President Anthony A. Chestang presided over the meeting.
All of the Central Regional Chapters were represented. Also
in attendance were the National Ladies Auxiliary Vice
President Delores Brooks and the Chicago Ladies Auxiliary
Chapter President Valerie Neal. The Regional received an
impressive update of the Corps by Marine Major Scott Payne
and National Public Relations Officer, Lieutenant Colonel
Eric Lindsay. The region also received a VA update from
former Marine Patrick Long. The final session of meeting
was focused on health care with a brief by Dr. James
Whittico. Overall the Central Region had a very productive
and informative meeting. Congratulations to Central Region
Vice President Anthony Chestang for a great Region
Meeting!!!

Kudos: Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Kimball USMC retired of
Jacksonville, North Carolina. The Colonel was instrumental
in the effort to correct an historical oversight aboard
Montford Point. “Fraser Road” was named after Corporal
Gilbert Fraser, the first Montford Pointer to die in
uniform on 20 August 1943. Over the years the road name was
changed. The Colonel put together a well documented
packaged that was personally endorsed by Camp Lejeune
Commander Colonel Adele Hodges (a life member) to the
Commandant of the Marine Corps. We are hoping for approval
soon and the date the road is properly renamed will be
passed. Thanks Colonel for “Preserving the Legacy”!

To Past National President Gene Doughty. Gene is featured
in the February 2007 American Legion Magazine. Gene
commanded two full pages near the center of the Magazine to
detail his participation in the battle for Iwo Jima.

To original Montford Pointer Lawrence R. Lucas of
Spotsylvania, Virginia for representing us at a special
ROTC Program at Spotsylvania Senior High School for World
War II Veterans. Mr. Lucas received many thanks for
spreading the word to those who have never heard of the
Montford Pointers.

To former Marine Captain, Shawn Cooper (Daughter of Major
General retired Gary Cooper) for her company, TCG
Consulting Inc.’s generous donation of $325.00 to our
Scholarship Fund. Shawn is the President of TCG, an
marketing communications, market research and public
involvement consulting firm. Shawn also was the person to
redesign this newsletter. Thanks Shawn for your longtime
support of the Association’s goals!!!!!!

To Sergeant Major Carlton Kent who took over as the
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps on 25 April. We look
forward to working with the Sergeant Major on Montford
Point issues and concerns. Congratulations to Sergeant
Major John Estrada for a dynamic four years in the top
enlisted leadership position. Sergeant Major Estrada (Life
member) always was available to the association for events
and questions. Good luck in retirement John, your legacy
will live forever in Marine Corps History!!!!

Queen’s Contest: Chapters should have received their
compliment of Queens Raffle Tickets to sell by now. The
Queens Contest is our premier National Fundraiser. Besides
raising money for our National Scholarship commitment and
to help with operating costs, this fundraiser should be
viewed as an excellent opportunity to raise money and
awareness of our individual chapters. Chapters are
required to raise a minimum of $500.00 each to remain
financial with the National Office. Chapters that are not
financial will not have any voting privileges at the
National Spring Council or our National Convention. Tickets
are $1.00 each for a grand prize of $2500.00 cash with 2d
place receiving $500.00 and 3rd place getting $300.00.
Please see your chapter representative for tickets.

Books: The May 2007 edition of Leatherneck Magazine
reviewed the book “Collie J” that tells the story of
Original Montford Pointer Collie J. Nickerson the first
black member of Denig’s Demons”, the World War II Marine
combat correspondences. Collie later was the man who was
instrumental in bringing Grambling College to National
recognition by sending advanced press releases to 400 black
newspapers nation wide. Book may be purchased through the
Marine Corps Association

There is another book that has recently been written about
the Men of Montford Point by Retired Marine Corps
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald K. Culp. Colonel Culp writes
historical novels and is a freelance writer. He lives in
Kerrville, Texas. The book will not be released until May
30th 2007 but can be previewed on the following website; if
you click on "Add to Cart", the ordering process will
start.
http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?isbn=0-7864-3000-1

God Speed to Marine Captain Vernice “Junk” Armour, the
first Woman African American Combat Pilot for the
Department of Defense, who has decided to leave the Marine
Corps and pursue her dream of being a motivational speaker.
Those of you that have heard Captain Armour talk know that
she is a motivator! Captain Amrour is on the cover of the
NAACP Magazine The Crisis March/April 2007 edition. Please
visit her website at www.vernicearmour.com and read her
fantastic story.

TAPS: The Association lost a few members and supporters
over the past few months to include; Albany Chapter #15
Chapter member Andrew Wiggins passed on 9 March 2007.
Evangelist Wiggins was a longtime supporter and Past
National Chaplain of the Association. Mr Wiggins served in
the Marine Corps for over 21 years and saw combat in Korea.


MGySgt Charles H Ellis an original Montford Pointer passed
March 16th. The Masterguns enlisted right after WWII and
saw action in Korea and served in Vietnam. Master Gunny
Ellis was interred at the Quantico National Cemetery on
March 21st 2007. The Masterguns has a son, Chuck Ellis a
Lieutenant Colonel USMCR who served in Iraq. Lieutenant
Colonel Ellis has an interesting pedigree, not only was his
dad a legendary Montford Pointer, but his Mom, Ann Lamb,
was one of the first three African American Women to enlist
in the Marine Corps.

Wilmore E. Perry an Original Montford Pointer retired
Gunnery Sergeant and faithful member of the DC-6 Chapter
died during March 2007. Mr. Perry was a mainstay at the
National Conventions and events throughout the DC area for
many years. Mr Perry always shared information about
Montford Point to whoever would listen. Mr. Perry attended
many Quantico events as well. I had the pleasure to be in
his company at the February 2007 Quantico event. Mr Perry
will be missed by many, many members.

Kenneth R Gray PhD the oldest son of our Founder, Master
Gunnery Sergeant Brooks E. Gray (deceased) and his wife
Melvia, died of an apparent heart attack on March 24th
2007. Kenneth was doing what he loved to do, mountain
climbing, when he reached the top he shouted down to his
fellow climbers “It’s so beautiful up here, you must try to
come up” Soon after Kenneth went to explore and died.
Kenneth was an accomplished scholar who traveled the world
trying to make a difference.

Famie Roundtree as mentioned in the beginning of this
update passed on 11 April. I along with Past National
Presidents Jerome Milburn & Sam Saxton attended the funeral
services for Famie. Also representing the Association and
Ladies Auxiliary were the Ladies National Chaplain & Ladies
Auxiliary Chapter President of Maryland #28, Jean Lawrence
and Past National Presidents Sylvia H. Saxton & Clustie A.
Ford. National Officers in attendance were our National
Public Relations Officer, LtCol Eric Lindsay, Southern
Regional Vice President James Averhart, Museum Board Member
and Maryland #28 Chapter President James Stewart, Maryland
#22 President William Foreman , Marine Corps League
Sergeant Major Louis Roundtree Detachment Commandant ,
Robert “Moon” Mullins and a host of other members and
family. Famie will be missed by all of us for a very long
time. Special Kudos to Famie’s Daughter, Lashelle for her
super organizational skills to give her Mom a first class
going home ceremony.
Lashelle has had to bury both parents in less than three
years.

Chapter Presidents and members are reminded to encourage
our elder members to have a bio prepared for the press and
the funeral home. We often get last minute requests from
the family asking about their loved one’s service dates,
rank, etc… Please make sure that up-to-date bio information
is ready at the Chapter level. Members are reminded to
report the lost of members and supporters immediately to
our National Chaplin, Reverend James Moore. Reverend Moore
may be reached at 843-846-0881 or email at:
james.moore@usmc.mil

National Sergeant at Arms, Racine “Tree” Wilson wants to
remind members to be in The Montford Point Uniform during
the Opening Meetings and Picture (Friday) during the
Convention. A Navy Blue Blazer, Light Blue or White shirt
with a red tie, Gray trousers, black belt (or Skirt or
Trousers for Women) appropriate MPMA Cover, MPMA Packet
Crest and black shoes have been the most acceptable uniform
until we pass an official Resolution to the by laws.
Chapters are reminded also to bring their Chapter banners
and flags to the convention. Official Cap and Badge may be
purchased through or National Quartermaster Elijah “Abe”
Abram. Abe may be reached at 843-838-5475.

News: Past National Public Relations Officer, Carmen
Cordoba found this interesting story about a few Montford
Pointers on the net;
http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=249547
Also, Carmen shared these stories with us;
http://www.wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070214/NEWS/702140423/-1/State
http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/545013.html
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/columnists.nsf/sylvesterbrownjr/story/4DAD0D7A32F94A63862572880012B10A?Open
Document Thanks Carmen for your continued support!

Finally, the May June 2007 edition of SEMPER Fi The
Magazine of the Marine Corps League has a very interesting
article about Montford Point on pages 18 and 19. Please
pick up a copy soon. As always, please continue to check
our official website for more information through the
Association at www.montfordpointmarines.com or
www.mpma28.com http://www.mpmalejeune10.org or
http://www.mpmanyc.com or
www.montfordpointchicagochapter2.org

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

Semper Fidelis!
Joe Geeter
National President
Master Gunnery Sergeant (retired)
Montford Point Marine Association
27 Red Tail Court
Limerick, PA 19468
geeterj@yahoo.com
610-495-3619
.
.

 JAMES E STEWART JR PRESIDENT

JOHN TILLMAN VICE PRESIDENT

Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD

 

5708 CHRIS MAR AVE
CLINTON MARYLAND, 20735
240-535-5580
oklamarine@aol.com
 
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