Montford Point Marine Association Inc. National Newsletter
Fellow members, supporters and friends,
As we enter the busiest time of year for are Association I’d like to remind Chapter Presidents and Regional Vice Presidents to be prepared for our upcoming Spring Council by having complete reports and enough copies for the National Executive Council (about 40 copies). It is recommended that you pre ship your reports to either the hotel or make arrangements with the host chapter to receive and possibly copy them prior to the start of our council.
It is quite expensive to make copies at the hotel or go to a copy center. Council members are also reminded to take care of your members that have gone above and beyond with Association Awards, which are also due at the Spring Council.
This update is packed with new information so please pass to members who do not have email access. As you will read, your National Officers have been extremely busy crisscrossing the country visiting Chapters and members ensuring that we are continuing to work in the best interest of our Original Montford Pointers and our members. I look forward in seeing many of you in Saint Louis during our Spring Council.
National News: Recently we were contacted by Professor Judson L. Jeffries a Professor with THE Ohio State University. Dr. Jeffries is writing an expose’ on our very own Captain Frederick C. Branch, the very first African American Commission Officer.
I’ve been working with the Doctor over the past month or so putting him in touch with those who knew and served with Captain Branch and recently previewed his 24 page project. Dr. Jeffries has written one of the most complete story of this American Pioneer to date! We are anxiously awaiting the completion and publication of this great project. We will let you know when this document is available for public viewing.
I was also contacted by Professor Sean Kildea of Rider University who is in the very embryonic stages of documenting the African American presence on Iwo Jima. Of course we had to start this research with our very own MPMA President Emeritus Gene Doughty whose recall of his events 64 years ago is still very sharp. Fittingly, Gene was interviewed in his home on February 19th of this year. February 19th was, of course, “D” Day for Iwo Jima in 1945. We will let all know as this project moves forward.
The lobbying for a Congressional Gold Medal for our Original Montford Pointers is never far from my heart and actions. The Chicago Chapter hosted US Senator Roland Burris at their clubhouse on April 18th and we brought this issue up to the Senator.
This year the following offices are up for election/reelection: National President, National Vice President, National Recording Secretary, National Financial Secretary and National Treasurer. If you are interested in running or nominating a member for any of these offices, please notify me immediately.
The Association is currently talking with retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Anthony Ballard about a possible Chapter near Camp Pendleton. The Masterguns is currently the Office Manager in the Offices of Governmental and External Affairs aboard Camp Pendleton. The Master guns has a Montford Point pedigree with his Uncle Isaac Eugene Ballard who underwent his recruit training aboard Montford Point and served in the Pacific Theater from November 1944 to November 1945. Corporal Ballard was discharged in 1946.
The Association recently honored Corporal Ballard with a Special President’s Certificate which will be presented to him in his home state of Connecticut.
Spring Council 2009: will be held 23 thru 26 April 2009 at the Marriott St Louis Airport 10700 Pear Tree Lane St Louis, MO 63134. Please call 314-423-9700 to make your reservations soon.
Convention 2009: will be held at the same Marriott from 22 thru 26 July 2009. Please mark your calendars now. More information will be passed in our next update.
Please make your reservations early for these events at:http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/stlap-st-louis-airport-marriott/
Regional News:Central Region: I attended the Central Region meeting in Saint Louis along with our National Vice President Mike Johnson. We had representatives from the Chicago, Detroit, India polis, Louisville and Saint Louis Chapter. Regional Vice President Tony Chestang held a very informative and well organized meeting that included a VA brief as well as a recruiting brief from the local Officer Selection Office and the Recruiting Station Sergeant Major.
The Chose Few Banquet was held in conjunction with this meeting and was a complete success. Deceased Montford Pointer Walter Thompson’s window and sons were in attendance and in a surprise announcement donated parcels of property to the local chapter. I would also like to thank the Ladies Auxiliary for taking special care of all of us during the Central Meeting.
Southern Region: Held their very informative Regional Meeting telephonically on March 21st, 2009. Senior Regional Vice President James Averhart had many of his Chapters on the line to discuss Regional and National Business. Among the National Officers on this call were myself, National Financial Secretary David Fortune, National Special Relations Officer George Herring, National Convention Director Nathaniel James.
Senior Regional Vice President James Averhart spent a whirlwind few days in Georgia visiting all three Chapters there and participating in Black History Month programs in Atlanta.
The Georgia Chapters are working together to clean and maintain the grave site of Marine Sergeant Rodney Davis who is one of only five African American Medal of Honor recipients. Sergeant Davis’ gravesite has gone unattended for far too long and the Montford Point Marine Association will ensure that does not happen again.
Chapter Happenings: Louisville, KY: I attended the 5th annual Covington-Hagan Scholarship Banquet on April 4th 2009. Marine Major General James L. Williams Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division was the guest speaker and gave a rousing address that focused on us preparing our youth for adulthood and possible service to our country.
This event was again well planned and executed by the members of the Louisville chapter led of course by the Chapter President and National Treasurer Charles Stallard. There were plenty of dignitaries there from the local and state level. Charles has done a fantastic job ensuring that the veteran decision makers continue to participate in this growing event. Thank you Louisville for taking very good care of me during my all too short visit!
Detroit Chapter #19: Chapter Secretary Robert Middleton and others were responsible for a Black History Month celebration that included Major General Willie Williams. The Detroit Chapter has partnered with the local Marine Corps League Montford Point Detachment to put on this event annually.
Philadelphia Chapter #1. Chapter President Reverend Lawrence Brown and other Montford Point Association members along with many local veterans once again honored Revolutionary Patriot Crispus Attucks in a rededication ceremony of the Colored Soldiers Monument in downtown Philly.
Reverend Brown received a special Proclamation for the City of Philadelphia declaring 5 March Crispus Attucks African American Military Day. March 5th 1770 was of course the day of the Boston Massacre where Crispus Attucks was the first American to die in what became the Revolutionary War.
Reverend Brown is encouraging all Chapters to partner with their City Councils for similar recognition and to publicly observe this day. For a copy of this Proclamation and more information please contact Reverend Brown at 215-292-1929.
Los Angles Chapter #8 members, of the Montford Point Marine Association were in attendance to The Freedom Concert 2009 (www.freedomconcert2009.org) honoring the men and women who protect and serve our country, located at the Pasadena Convention Center. Robert and Denise Zeilstra invited us free of charge to the Jazz Concert. The concert was in the Grand Ball Room with over 500 people in attendance.
Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm serving Champagne toast, Prime Rib Sandwich's, Roasted turkey Brest and Chips. The guest was the Mayor, Chief of Police, Sheriff, CHP Fire and active duty/retired military. This event gave us an open form for more invites for the Montford Point Marine Association.
Atlanta Chapter #5, Albany Chapter# 15 and Warner Robins Macon GA #35. Chapter Presidents Linda Sykes , Nathaniel Paige and Allen Lewis respectively, led a contingency of Montford Point members as well as members from the Marine Corps League-Macon, 1/5 Marine Association, 4th Marine Logistics Group and the 4th Force Recon Unit to help clean up the gravesite site of Marine Sergeant Rodney Davis.
Sergeant Davis was one of five African American Marine Medal of Honor recipients during the Vietnam War. His grave site in Warner Robins has been unkempt for years until Montford Point Members found out and did something about it. According to Atlanta President Linda Sykes;
“This was a great event. We had a great showing from all Georgia Chapters and the Marine Units. I will share pictures and additional details from the event later this week. Sergeant Davis’ brother gave a tearful speech during the dedication. Our members walked away fired up and saying "this is what MPMA is all about".
Special thanks to our very own retired Navy Corpsman Kevin “Doc” Johnson and Jason Greene (“B” Company 4th Recon Battalion) for putting this event together!!! This is what Montford Point Marine Association is all about, THANK YOU ALL FOR THIS GREAT WORK!!!!
National Awards: As mentioned in my opening remarks, each year Chapters have the opportunity to recognize those Chapter Members that go above and beyond their normal duties with Association Awards. These Awards are detailed in our National by Laws.
Chapters are required to send these award recommendations to the National Award Chairman (Quantico Chapter Past President Kenny Crutcher) in time for our Spring Council. The Membership committee consists of Kenny as Chair, the National Vice President, The Regional Vice Presidents and at one Past National President. Their recommendations are sent to me for approval.
The highest award that we can bestow on an individual is membership in the Montford Point Marine Association Hall of Fame. These award recommendations are the most scrutinized. The Nominee’s actions should rise head and shoulders above lower level awards and their actions should benefit the entire Association.
Please ensure Hall of Fame recommendations are fully researched so that they may receive serious consideration. If there are any questions on Awards please contact Kenny Crutcher at 571-214-9653.
Queens Contest: On the Central Region Conference Call, National Special Projects Officer George Herring reminded us to submit our monthly Queens reports to him immediately. As of the call there have been no reports submitted. I took his message seriously and submitted the report from Philadelphia soon after the call with a chapter check for $500.00. I now challenge all chapters to follow suite.
For those who are not familiar, the Queens Contest is our only National Fundraiser to help with our scholarship efforts and operational costs. Tickets sell for $1.00 each or $25.00 for a book.
Chapters are required to sell a minimum of $500.00 worth of tickets to remain in good financial standing with the Association. The Chapter Queen that sells the most tickets is crowned National Queen at our convention. George Herring is requiring that all chapters that are running a Queen properly fill out the requisite forms and submit the required documents for the Association to recognize that you are in fact running a Queen.
Many of you have asked me over the past year what you can do to assist in our efforts to gain national attention for the Montford Pointers. My answer is to buy raffle tickets!!! These tickets sales also offset some of the travel I must do to ensure America finally hears the complete story about Montford Point. I cannot communicate this story to the masses by sitting in my home in Pennsylvania. I must travel to these events to get that word out.
In the past I have offered to fill out the stubs for those who purchase tickets from me. I first want those chapter members to purchase tickets from your chapter representative, however if you are a member at large or a supporter, I’m asking you to write a check for $50.00 or $100.00 to the Association for Queens Tickets and I will personally make up address labels for you.
Again this is what you can do to help the Association offset the many events that I must attend to keep our momentum going. Please take time and write your check today! George is once again asking that chapters submit their monthly reports and to send him your reports and checks by 1 July. Chapter representatives are requested to bring their final report and all stubs to the National Convention in Saint Louis.
Changes to the National By-laws: Changes to our National by Laws are done by resolution only. Request for changes should be in resolution format and submitted to the Chair of the Resolutions Committee, Alexandria Johnson at least 60 days prior (May 25th, 2009) to our National Convention. Alexandria may be contacted at: Alexandria Johnson Resolutions Chair MPMA 13 Freemont Turn Palm Coast, FL 32137-8416
KUDOS: To recently promoted Marine Colonel Stephanie Smith. Colonel Smith was recently promoted to her current rank in ceremonies officiated by Major General Willie Williams. Col Smith is the proud daughter of an Original Montford Pointer. Among the many friends and family that attended her promotion were DC-6 Chapter Vice President Lieutenant Colonel Pat Johnson and former MCB Camp Lejeune Commander Adele Hodges.
Colonel Smith currently serves as the Assistant Chief of Staff, Staff Judge Advocate, Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Western Recruiting Region.
To our National Historian Original Montford Pointer Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Carpenter, who continues to represent our interest at the Marine Corps Council Meetings. The Marine Corps Council is made up of various Marine Veteran Association. Past National President Sam Saxton, worked hard to ensure we had and continue to have a seat at this table. Often I cannot make it to the DC/Quantico area and the Colonel never fails to fill in for me at this meeting.
TAPS/Final Formation:Reverend Stephen King An Original Montford Pointer and veteran of the famous Chosin Reservoir Campaign during the Korean War died in February 2009. Reverend King was a past National Chaplain and New York Chaplain of the Montford Point Marine Association. His family is planning on donating Reverend King’s memorabilia to the Montford Point Marine Museum. Reverend King served for over 20 years in the United States Marine Corps. Reverend King will be missed by all!
Riley Lane: One of the very first African American to serve in an integrated recruit platoon died on 23 January 2009. Marine Lane went to serve in Korea during the war. Marine Riley was a Charter Member of this Association and served the Philly Chapter until his recent illness. Mr. Lane will be missed by us all!
Malcum Mumford an original Montford Pointer with the Los Angeles Chapter, died on March 22nd. Sergeant Mumford went through Montford Point during November 1946 and served for three years. He was very active with the LA Chapter and recently had a Scholarship named in his honor that was presented to a LA area High School Senior 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 Sick in Quarters: Original Montford Pointer, Hall of Famer and Iwo Jima Survivor Navy Captain Thomas McPhatter is still undergoing life saving treatment and was recently moved from the skilled nursing unit at the VA hospital to the Direct Observation Unit (DOU) on the fifth floor of the same hospital, where he was in November and December.
He was moved there because his breathing was worsening and his oxygen level was down. Also, he has another urinary infection, as well as C. Difficil, which is an infection in his colon. The treatment for the urinary infection can cause the other infection. For right now there is no number where he can be reached. We ask members to continue to keep this Montford Point legend in your prayers.
Chapter Rosters: As we get closer to our 2009 Spring Council and National Convention, it is extremely important that our National Recording Secretary, Regina Lawrence, has up-to-date rosters of all your members who are in good standing (read: paid up members) within the Association.
Chapter Presidents, please ensure this happens at your earliest. Out of date rosters costs us in postage and prevents our newest members from receiving updates such as this one. Please get these rosters in NOW!
3rd Black Marine Reunion: will be held 26-29 June 2009 at the Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. The deadline to register is March 2, 2009. This group led by Robert “The Gator” Wallace (352-259-2435) 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: www.blackmarinereunion.com. Or call Bill Woods at 949-364-4318 or Cliff Bowman at 252-633-5453.
Obama Memorabilia: Long time supporter and plaque and poster designer Dee Siffer has a website of quality Obama memorabilia at www.obamafineartprints.com Dee has designed plaques for many USMC General Officers to include our current Commandant James T. Conway.
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!
Joseph H. Geeter III Master Gunnery Sergeant USMC (retired) National President Montford Point Marine Association Inc. 27 Red Tail Court Limerick, PA 19468 firstname.lastname@example.org 610-495-3619