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; firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 610-495-3619 . .