Montford Point Marine Association Inc. National Newsletter October/November 2007
“Preserving the Legacy”
Fellow members, supporters and friends,
At the top of this edition of our update is the 2007 Congressional Black Caucus which was held in Washington DC September 26th-29th. Florida State Senator Anthony C. “Tony” Hill, Sr. was largely responsible for the Montford Point Marine Association receiving an audience at The Honorable Corrine Brown (D-FL) and The Honorable Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) 19th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust. I had the opportunity, along with five original Montford Pointers (Lt Col Joe Carpenter, 1stSgt George Kidd, GySgt Reuben McNair, Capt Sam Saxton and Cpl James Ferguson) to address members of Congress and the leaders of many African American Veterans groups. My remarks were to inform those who did not know about the pioneering work of the Montford Pointers and to lobby for a Congressional Gold Medal, A Commemorative Stamp and to have Camp Johnson (Montford Point) placed on the National Register of Historical Places. Very Special thanks to US Representative Corrine Brown who allowed each original Montford Pointer the opportunity to share parts of their story to the audience. Needless to say we were very well received by all. I literally brought a suitcase of handout information for the group which was quickly collected by the crowd after our remarks.
Florida State Senator Tony Hill, who spent a lot of time visiting with us at our National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, has remained very active in gathering State and National support in our efforts to bring much overdue recognition to the Men of Montford Point. I would also like to thank the many staffers of Representative Corrine Brown’s office particularly Lee Footer, Senior Legislative Assistant for US Representative Corrine Brown, for arranging the logistics to make this all happen. Each of the original Montford Pointers was presented an American Flag from the Offices of Representative Brown at a reception in Washington DC the evening of September 28th. National Public Relations Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Lindsay was also in attendance documenting the event with digital pictures. Additionally, Dr. Melton McLaurin was at the Caucus receiving honors for both his work on the documentary and his book America’s First Black Marines “The Marines of Montford Point”. This was a very historical day in the Association’s history.
MEMBERSHIP DUES: are currently due for all annual members. Please forward both your National Dues (still at only $25.00 per year) and your Chapter dues immediately to your Chapter representative or to National Financial Secretary David Fortune at MPMA PO Box #1070 Sharon Hill PA 19079. In order to continue to run this organization we are in great need for all members to become current in their dues.
California Fires: I have been in contact with many Association members with our National Vice President to check on the safety of members in the Southern California area. There have been no reports of damage to home or members reported. If any member or supporter knows of members or persons in need, please notify the National Vice President, Mike Johnson at 909-815-1972.
Documentary Airing: We are pleased to announced that that the documentary film will be shown on 87 PBS Channels during November, 2007. Please check your local PBS listings for airing times and have a chapter plan to telephone members to let them know of the airing dates. Documentary Film may be purchased at our National Museum for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. Please contact Finney or Louise Greggs at the Museum Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm at 910-450-1760/1340. Additionally, Dr. Melton McLaurin’s book that compliments the documentary can also be purchased from the Museum for $29.95 + $5.00 S/H.
MPMA Fall Council 2007:As required by our by-laws, the National Executive Committee will hold our Fall Council telephonically on Saturday, 1 December 2007 beginning at 3:00PM EST 1200 noon Pacific. National Executive Committee members will receive a package in the mail shortly from the National Recording Secretary, Regina Lawrence. Regional Vice Presidents and National Executive Council Members are invited to this call by not required to submit any reports. For further questions about the Fall Council please contact me at the numbers at the end of this update,
Quantico Black History Month Formal Dinner: will be held at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center on Saturday, 23 February 2008 from 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM. Tickets are $55.00 for adults and $25.00 for children under 10 years old. Tickets may be purchased online at https://www.quanticobhmcommittee.com/home_page.html. For additional information please email retired Marine Master Sergeant William “Bill” Jones at William.jones@dtra or phone at 03-767-3364. This will be the premier Washington/Quantico area Black History Month event and will sell out again quickly. If you plan to attend as I do, get your tickets early!!!
Spring Council 2008: will be held at the Houston Hyatt Regency 17-20 April 2008. National Officers are requested to make their travel plans and reservations a minimum of three weeks in advance to ensure you get the best possible price for your arrangements and that the Association only spends what is necessary for reimbursement of those officers whose travel is covered by the Association.
2008 NAACP Convention: will be held 12-17 July 2008 in Cincinnati Ohio. For additional information please visit the official NAACP website at www.naacp.org.
MPMA Convention 2008: The dates for our 2008 convention in Houston Texas have been set. Convention will be from 16-20 July with the 16th and 20th as travel days. The President’s reception once again being held on the Wednesday travel day. The number to the Hyatt Regency is 713-654-1234. The Hyatt Regency Houston is located in Downtown Houston at 1200 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002
MPMA Convention 2009: It’s never too early to start planning to host a convention. If you are interested please let our National Convention Director Nat James or the National Vice President Mike Johnson know.
National Museum: Held a “Meet the Author” book signing event at the Museum on 30 October for retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Ronald K. Culp who authored the recently published book “The First Black United States Marine; The Men of Montford Point” 1942-1946. This book was published by McFarland & Company Publishers Inc., Jefferson North Carolina. I have purchased the book on Amazon.com and it is a very good read. http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?isbn=0-7864-3000-1 Finney Greggs provided a lot of technical research support and is featured in the book with a ½ page photograph. Special thanks to both Finney, his wife Louise and the entire Museum staff for continuing to help get our story out to the American people!!!
Philadelphia Chapter #1: has announced their annual Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Ball has been canceled due to lack of ticket sales. Those who purchased tickets will be reimbursed by the Chapter Financial Secretary no later than the next meeting.
Philadelphia Chapter Vice President Charles Clarke will be among the honorees at the 6th Annual Veterans Service at Vine Memorial Baptist Church 56th & Girard Avenue in Philadelphia on Sunday, November 25th beginning at 11:00 AM. “Clarkey” has been an institution not only with the Philadelphia Chapter but the Veterans Hospital and many, many Philadelphia Veteran’s Organization and is most deserving of this honor.
Chicago Chapter #2: The Chicago Chapter will hold their annual President’s Ball on Saturday, 17 November beginning at 6:00 PM at The Four Points Hotel by Sheraton, 1353 South Cicero Avenue, Chicago IL. For tickets and information contact the Chicago Chapter at 773-973-6600.
New York Metro Chapter #3: Will hold their Annual Dinner dance on Sunday, November 11th at Antun’s Caterer’s at 96-43 Springfield Blvd, Queens Village New York. Tickets are $75.00 and may be purchased by contacting the New York Office at 212-267-3318, Joe Davis at 718-978-7631 or Ken Rollock at 201-569-7113
Albany Georgia: Has reestablished their Charter by having 14 members become current in their dues. It’s been a very long time since Albany has been represented at official functions and we look forward to seeing them at our Spring Council in Houston. Special thanks to Ronald Munson of Albany for making this happen!!!
DC Chapter #6: Will hold their Annual Marine Corps Birthday celebration on Friday, 16 November at LaFontaine Bleu in Lanham MD. Event will begin at 7:00 PM and tickets are $45.00 each. For tickets and additional information call Clifford Stone at 301-449-6533 or Rebuen McNair at 202-269-4121.
Los Angeles Chapter #8 The Los Angeles Chapter will hold their Annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball on November 10th, 2007 beginning at 7:00PM at the Chester Washington Golf Course, 1930 West 120th Street, Los Angeles CA 90047. Hotel accommodations are available at the Ramada Plaza 5250 West El Segundo Blvd, Hawthorn California 90250. The rate is$75.00 per night and reservations may be made by calling 310-536-9800. For tickets and more information, please call National Vice President and LA Chapter President Mike Johnson at 909-815-1972.
Camp Lejeune Chapter #10: Will hold their Marine Corps Birthday celebration on Saturday, November 10th at “The Point” the clubhouse for Camp Lejeune. Event will start at 7:00 PM. For tickets and additional information call Nat or Judy James at 910-358-1303.
Additionally, Camp Lejeune will hold their Annual Black and White Ball on 19 January 2008. Tickets are $30.00 each. Please call Judy or National Convention Director and Past National President Nat James again for tickets and information.
Camp Lejeune will hold its Heritage Ball on 23 February 2008 at The Point. Tickets are $20.00 each and may again be purchased from Nat or Judy.
St Louis Chapter #13: will hold their annual “Chosen Few” Banquet on Saturday, 9 February 2008 at the Airport Marriott in St Louis. For tickets and more information, please contact William E. Washington at 314-997-0374.
Mobile Alabama Chapter #33: Will hold their 2d Annual Marine Corps Ball in honor of the 232nd Marine Corps Birthday on Saturday,10 November beginning at 7:00 PM. Ball will be held at the Radisson Admiral Semmes Hotel in the Crystal Ballroom located at 251 Government Street, Mobile Alabama. Tickets are $45.00 each and may be purchased from Chapter President Rodney Lee at 251-476-5938 or 251-776-2424.
Chapters are reminded to contact me directly with the details of your upcoming events. It’s never too early to advertise your events for planning purposes.
Kudos: To Ms. Sierra Morgan of Baltimore Maryland. Ms. Morgan was the recipient of the Gunnery Sergeant Andrew Wiggins USMC “Memorial Award” a $1000.00 scholarship for her college education. Special thanks to President Emeritus Gene Doughty who continues to serve as our Scholarship Director. We are still in search of an individual to continue in this role after Gene retires. Please contact me or the Northern Regional Vice President, James Carr, if you are interested or wish to nominate an individual for this important appointed post.
Our National Vice President, Mike Johnson, for standing up the Ways and Means Committee. The committee consist of; Mr. Johnnie Henderson, Jacksonville Chapter President James Tippins, Sergeants Major retired E.D. Gillis and Annanias Rose, President Emeritus Gene Doughty and led by Mike Johnson. This is but the first step in ensuring we have individuals who will seek ways to raise monies for the Association.
To Major General Cornell Wilson who recently became an official life member of the Association! General Wilson has been a supporter for many years by speaking at local and national events across the country and having his guests donate money to our scholarship endeavors in honor of his 25th wedding anniversary. The General was also featured this summer in Ebony Magazine with his son who is a Marine Officer. Thanks General for your continued support!!!
To Original Montford Pointer, John F. Gray, who is featured in the much celebrated Ken Burns World War II Documentary “THE WAR” currently showing on PBS. Mr Gray will be honored this year at the 2007 Mobile Alabama Veterans Parade on November 12th. Mr. Gray served for 50 years in the Mobile County public schools. The Montford Point Marines were mentioned many times during this documentary. More information on Mr. Gray can be found on the flowing link; http://www.al.com/news/press-register/index.ssf?/base/news/119261279298310.xml&coll=3
Ken Burns Documentary also featured original Montford Pointer Willie Rushton of Mobile, Alabama. For more information about Mr. Rushton please visit the following link: http://www.pbs.org/thewar/detail_5202.htm
To St Louis Chapter members; William E. “Bill” Washington, John Tilghman and Al Ross who were featured in a very extensive newspaper article in St Louis MO. These members continue to work with local and National Museums to ensure our story is being told. Mr. Washington often hosts media personnel at his home to allow them to view the many historical documents and pictures he owns. Mr. Washington was also feature on KETC series Your Stories; St. Louis Remembers World War II, and shared his experiences in the war. Thank you all for continuing to carry the torch of the Men of Montford Point!!!
To Original Montford Pointer and retired Sergeant Major William “Movin” Vann and his wife Evangeline who continue to give periods of instructions to the Staff Non Commissioned Officers Academy at Camp Pendleton as well as numerous interviews in the Southern California Area. There are hundreds of SNCOs in our Corps that are getting the history first-hand from this dynamic couple!
National Chaplain: Chapter Presidents and members are reminded to encourage our elder members to prepare a bio 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: email@example.com
TAPS: Many of you already know that the Association lost a very special member in Sergeant Major retired Augustus “Gus” Willis. Gus served in many capacities during his many years with the Association including Chapter President of the San Diego Chapter and most recently as our Convention Delegate Chair. Gus was responsible to the Association for ensuring that an accurate count of members was done to issue the delegate votes whenever a vote was needed, especially for our election of officers. Gus took his responsibilities very seriously to make sure we were in compliance with the National By-Laws. Many members of the San Diego and Los Angeles Chapters attended the memorial services for Gus.
Executive Council Members, please provide me recommendations to fill Gus’ position as our Delegate Chairperson as soon as possible.
Corrections/Additions: In addition to the National Officers that were reelected at this year’s convention was Charles Stallard who was reelected as our National Treasurer. Charles was erroneously left off the list in the last update.
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!
Joe Geeter National President Master Gunnery Sergeant (retired) Montford Point Marine Association Inc. 27 Red Tail Court Limerick, PA 19468 firstname.lastname@example.org 610-495-3619