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2008 National Convention National Newsletter

Aug 9, 2008

Montford Point Marine Association Inc. National Newsletter

August/September 2008

“Preserving the Legacy”
Fellow members, supporters and friends,

2008 National Convention
The top news in our Association is the very successful National Convention which was held in Houston, Texas 16-20 July 2008. Chapter President Leo Taylor realized his dream to have one more convention in Texas during his tenure as Chapter President. Our last convention in Houston was 25 years ago. When Leo announced a few years ago that he wanted the convention in Houston there were a few members who did not think he could pull it off but he did in a huge way. Day 1 we held the President’s reception and had over 96 members there! We all had a very special surprise to see Colonel Herbert Brewer USMC retired. Colonel Brewer is an original Montford Pointer and the highest ranking Marine to graduate from Montford Point. Thursday after the business meetings we were treated to a first class fashion show by our Ladies Auxiliary. Thursday evening was the Chapter event at a local social club. The theme was Western and many members dressed the part. Friday we were back to business with our meetings and a special Veteran’s presentation by Dr. Patrice D. Robinson who is the Scientific Program Manager: Post Deployment Health within the Department of Veteran Affairs. Special thanks to Dr. Reuben Wright, former Navy Lt Commander, who for the third convention in a row, arranged to have an interesting speaker to tell us about Veteran Health issues and the importance of research. Friday evening was the Queens Coronation. Our Queen for Association Year 2008-2009 is Lynette Clifton from Camp Lejeune Chapter #10.Lynette is the granddaughter of MGySgt Mike Woods USMC deceased. MGySgt Woods was instrumental in establishing the Camp Lejeune Chapter nearly 40 years ago. The first runner up for Queen was Sontrese Williams from the Chicago Chapter and the 2nd runner up was Glynis A. Harvey from the Philadelphia Chapter. All contestants promised an even stronger showing next year in St. Louis.

The Raffle winners were:
Reggie Lewis $2, 500.00 from the Quantico Chapter
Harold Bates $500.00 from the Quantico Chapter
Estella Lee $300.00 from the Mobile Chapter


         During Saturday’s meeting the members were treated to a nice surprise, Major General Charles Bolden USMC retired popped in to say an informal hello to the members. General Bolden held the National Public Relations Office back in 1975. The General and his lovely wife, Jackie, also attended the Banquet.

Saturday we concluded the business meetings with the reelection of the following National Officers; Sergeant-at-Arms Racine Wilson, Special Projects Officer, George Herring, Veteran Affairs Officer,
Leo Taylor and Scholarship Director, Gene Doughty. Thank you to these members who continue to serve our Association on a National Level! We do have a vacancy for National Public Relations Officer and I’m taking recommendations to appoint an interim to this position until elections in 2010.

Saturday night is what everybody was waiting for. The 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps
James T. Conway met with the National Officers and selected members in a small reception prior to our National Banquet. The Commandant was very gracious, posing for pictures to all who greeted him. Those pictures are available on our website and at the following link. Along with the Commandant, the 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Carlton Kent attended our Banquet. Other special guest and members included Lieutenant General Ronald Coleman, Major General Walter Gaskin (both life members who were inducted in our hall-of-fame by the Commandant). CWO Annie Grimes, the very first African American female commissioned officer and the first to retired with 20 years service. In addition to Generals Coleman and Gaskin our 2008 Hall-of-Fame class included; Alexandria Johnson, Resolution Committee Chair and past NY Chapter President, John Tilghman, St Louis Chapter, Charles Stallard, National Treasurer and Louisville Chapter President, William Washington of St Louis and Augustus “Gus” Willis of San Diego were inducted posthumously.

The entire banquet program was tremendous. We were treated to a dramatic oral presentation about Montford Point from Ms. Ashanti Curry of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Ashanti is only 13 but has the presence and maturity of a very lovely young lady. We were also entertained by the presentation of our poem “Montford Point Remembered” by the author, retired Marine Glynis A. Harvey. We also had our Theme Song “I’ll Take the Marines” played. This theme was written by Original Montford Pointer and Hall-of-Fame member LaSalle Rodgers Vaughn Sr. of the Beaufort, SC Chapter.

The Commandant spoke eloquently of the history of Montford Point and the struggles our heroes had to overcome to earn the title Marine. The Commandant heard our concerns about having the Montford Pointer’s history more prominently displayed at the Museum of the Marines and promised to look into it on our behalf. Special thanks to our National Parliamentarian, Aaron German, who was instrumental in securing the Navy Band of New Orleans. The Navy band expertly provided the music for our Banquet,

Overall, I cannot say enough about the Houston Chapter and its members and supporters that from registration to check out handled every need that our members had with a positive “Can Do Attitude”.
I would also like to commend Deputy Convention Director Wendell Ferguson, who made multiple trips to Houston to ensure Leo Taylor had all the assistance he needed. I sincerely feel that all of our National Officers deserve a “well done” for coming together and working as a team to ensure we put on a first class convention for our members and our special guests! To view pictures from our National Banquet please click on the following link:

Convention 2009 will be in St Louis, MO and St. Louis Chapter President Tony Chestang is already preparing for our arrival next July. Convention 2010 will be in the Quantico VA area. Congratulations to Quantico Chapter President and National Awards Chairman, Kenny Crutcher for a very detailed presentation! It’s not too early to start preparing your bid for convention 2011. Chapters are realizes that they too can put on a convention with the help of the National Office and surrounding chapters and members.

National News: Most of us have heard about the controversy between Spike Lee and
Clint Eastwood. During the Cannes Movie Festival in the Spring Spike Lee made a statement that Clint Eastwood had NO Blacks in his movie Flags of our Fathers. Well we know that there were blacks in the movie, however, they were only in the movie for about 15 seconds. They were identified as Marines of the 8th Ammo Company. Mr Eastwood’s reply was for Mr. Lee to “shut his face”. This of course started the media frenzy that lit up my phone and our webpage for folks seeking information. Time Magazine did a full page story on this in their June 23rd edition.,8599,1812972,00.html We have also reached out to Spike Lee to help us tell the real story of Blacks on Iwo Jima and in World War II. Mr. Lee did take the time to interview one of our members (more on that in the Sick in Quarters paragraph below). We have a number of supporters attempting to assist us in connecting with Mr. Lee.
I personally sent Mr. Lee a letter with supporting documents to better inform him on the Montford Pointers. Journalist Professor and author of the book “We Were There” Yvonne Latty, which featured original Montford Pointer USN Captain Thomas McPhatter, has chronicled most of this dialog on her blog at;

Reports: Our national by-laws require that all reports from the convention be submitted within 30 days of the conclusion of the convention. I realize that may not be enough time for some officers, especially the host chapter, to gather all the required documents, so I would like to have ALL the reports sent to both me and our National Recording Secretary, Regina Lawrence, no later than 22 September. That will give us both time to copy the reports and send them to the Executive Committee for review prior to our Fall Council in October. The Fall Council is a conference call for the National Officers that handle our monies. This is the time we close the books on our Association year and start the planning for Association Year 2008-2009.

Chapter Happenings:

Quantico: Will hold their 3rd Annual Commemorative Ball on Friday August 22nd at the Clubs of Quantico. Tickets are $55.00 and may be purchased from Parisa Fetherson at or 540-446-6231 or Tonya Raynor at .
This event WILL sell out! Please get your tickets TODAY. I will attend this event.

San Diego: Will hold their annual Scholarship Banquet on Friday, August 22, 2008 from 6:00- 10:00 PM at Anchors Catering and Conference Center Bldg #3210 aboard Navy Base San Diego.
Tickets ate $50.00 each and may be purchased by calling 619-264-7487. or email National Vice President Mike Johnson will attend this event.

Jacksonville, FL: Chapter President James Tippins was featured on a front page story in The Florida Times Union about how President Truman’s signing of Executive Order 8802 effective him. July 26th was the 60th Anniversary of the signing of this historic document. The article has two very nice color photos of Mr. Tippins. The Jacksonville Chapter received the Presidents Cup for the Most Outstanding Chapter within our Association at this year’s National Banquet in Houston. Congratulations to both Mr. Tippins and his chapter for continuing to tell the story of our heroes!

KUDOS: To now retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Gilbert Taylor. The Master Guns retired with over 30 years of faithful service in ceremonies aboard MCAS Beaufort on 28 July 2008. Many Beaufort Chapter members were in attendance.
I have known “T” for over 10 years and we were both part of the Beaufort Chapter. I could literally fill the rest of this update with his accomplishments towards our Association. I will try to name a few. The Master Guns served as the Chapter Treasurer for Beaufort for many years and he also designed every program ticket and flyer for the many events that Beaufort held. “T” originated the Beaufort and later the National Website. “T” served as our National Public Relations Officer and established the current membership card we now use.

“T” also designed the cover for our 40th National Journal in Chicago. ”T” served as our photographer, taking the group picture in Chicago, Jacksonville, NC and Jacksonville, FL. “T” also was the primary designer for the trilogy of coins we have. He also designed two other coins for the 51st and 52nd Defense Battalions. “T” also designed the lovely coin for the Ladies Auxiliary. Above all the above, Master Gunnery Sergeant Taylor has been a friend. Whenever I have called on him for something (and I’ve called often) “T” has been there for us. So Master Gunnery Sergeant Taylor take a few weeks off as you get resettled in your home in Alabama and relax, you most definitely deserve it!!!!
To Gunnery Sergeant William J. Dixon, Marine Times Marine of the Year! The Gunny serves as the Marine Corps’ Funeral Director at 8th and I. The Gunny is a super all around Marine who takes his job very seriously. The Gunny and his fellow Staff NCOs took very care of us while we visited 8th and I to honor one of our own, Gunnery Sergeant Henry Baul. Gunny Baul was the 9th African American to enlist at Montford Point and was honored by Lieutenant General Coleman at the Marine Barracks in May. There is a picture of that ceremony in the August edition of Leatherneck Magazine on page 38. Special thanks to Marine Corps Public Affairs Chief Gunnery Sergeant William Price who ensured that this picture was sent to the Leatherneck.
Kudos to Gunnery Sergeant William Price, for the publishing of his book”Devil Dog Diary” which details his book camp experience and more. The Gunny and I served together in Beaufort and he and the entire public affairs staff constantly wrote articles about Montford Point. The Gunny was mentored by many folks to include our former National Public Relations Officer retired Marine Master Sergeant Carmen Cordoba. For information about the Gunny’s book please visit his site at;

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:

Sick in Quarters: NY Chapter member Joe Davis suffered a minor stroke right before the convention and could not travel. I have spoken to Joe recently and he is working very hard to get back into fighting shape. Joe thanks everyone for asking about him and for the calls he has received. We look forward to seeing him at an event real soon. Get well Joe. We still need you a bunch!

Navy Captain Thomas McPhatter is not doing as well as we would like. Capt “Mc”, as I have always referred to him, is in a nursing home in the San Diego area and really enjoys hearing from members and complete strangers. Please take a moment and give this living hero a call at 619-456-2014. Capt Mc can also receive letters at Magnolia Special Care Center, 635 south Magnolia, El Cajon, CA 92020. Capt Mc fought on Iwo Jima and later served multiple tours in Viet Nam as a Naval Chaplain. Capt Mc was personally interviewed by film director Spike Lee on Father’s Day for about 6 hours! Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood continue their dialog on the presence of African American Service members on Iwo Jima. All they have to do is ask Gene Doughty, Ellis Cunningham, Reverend Archibald Mosley and many others if blacks were there.

Membership: Our Membership year will come to an end on 31 August. Now is the time to renew your national and local chapter dues. Please do not delay in doing this. Besides the Queens contest, this is the main revenue that we receive each year in order to conduct the business of Montford Point. Write your checks TODAY!

Diversity Military Expo: The first ever Diversity Military Expo will take place in the Washington DC area 3-4 October 2008. This event was conceived and planned by former Navy Commander
Gregory Black, who runs the website. Please visit this site for more info;

This expo will feature the leading African American Military Organizations in the United States to include the Tuskegee Airmen, the Buffalo Soldiers and of course the MONTFORD POINT MARINES! I have been honored to be named to the Board of Advisors for this event. Please check out all the advisors at: We are finally getting our just due recognition with the elite African American Military Organizations and I am extremely grateful to Commander Black for ensuring that we were included! More detailed information will be provided on this later.

3rd Black Marine Reunion: will be held 26-29 June 2009 at the Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida.
This group led by Robert “The Gator” Wallace has had two very successful reunions in 2005 &2007. During their reunion in 2007 a CBS news crew was there and filmed a very informative piece that was aired on CBS Sunday Morning to an audience of millions! This clip may be viewed on our website. The 3rd Black Marine Reunion recently launched their website at:

LEADERSHIP! That is the title of a very engaging book by the 14th and first African American Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Alford L. McMichael. This book is widely available on the web, in many book stores, the Post Exchanges and the Marine Corps Association. The Sergeant Major has been and still is a very strong supporter of the Association so let’s support him by purchasing this very special book.

Maryland Chapter #28 President James Stewart Jr. also has a new book recently published. The title is “Red Blood, Black Skin” The History of the Negro Marine World War II. Please visit the following link on how to order this book;

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

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

Semper Fidelis!

Joseph H. Geeter III
Master Gunnery Sergeant (retired)
National President
Montford Point Marine Association Inc.
27 Red Tail Court
Limerick, PA 19468



Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD


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