Newsletters & Information > STATE OF THE ASSOCIATION

May 27, 2009

Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.
Office of the National President
Joseph H. Geeter III
Master Gunnery Sergeant USMC retired
27 Red Tail Court, Limerick, PA 19468 (610) 495-3619

April 21, 2009

To: The Montford Point Marine Association Executive Council & Fellow Members;In compliance with the National By-laws of the Montford Point Marine Association, I hereby submit the State of the Association for the year 2009 for your consideration.

This administration's second tenure began in July of 2007. At the Fall Council of the 2009 after all bills were paid MPMA had over $125K in the bank. It is my privilege to report the association is growing and adding very influential members to our cause. This year is another historical year of many achievements. In this report I will detail our accomplishments and projected goals.

Achievements;Our National Website continues to be our crowning achievement. Through this website we have disseminated information to our members, informed America and the World about our heroes, reconnected old friends and most importantly become a source of information for schoolchildren and scholars as they write papers and exposé’s on our heroes. Please to include our website on all flyers, programs and business cards.

I would be remised if I did not also thank the many chapters who have also established and maintained individual websites. I’m proud to report that we continue to embrace modern technology to achieve our goals.

Communication: We continue to put out a National update at least bi-monthly electronically and mail a hard copy to all members quarterly. Our update is read by members of Congress and by some of the very senior leadership not only in the Marine Corps but in the Department of Defense.

The National Office has partnered with both The Ohio State University and Rider University (New Jersey) to continue to look for ways to get the story of the Montford Pointers to the masses. Professor Jeffries at The Ohio State University is putting the finishing touches on an extensive expose’ on the first African American Officer, Frederick C. Branch. I have previewed his work and it is the most detailed project on Captain Branch to date. Professor Sean Kildea from Rider University is in the early stages of interviewing African American survivors of Iwo Jima for a possible documentary project.

The media coverage received over the past year has been unprecedented. We have had National Coverage in The Marine Times, Leatherneck Magazine, The History Channel Magazine and dozens and dozens of local and regional newspapers. This work begins at the Chapter level and I’d like to thank the Chapter Presidents and local Public Relations Officers for continuing to notify the media when we are having or appearing at events across the country.

Lieutenant General Ronald Coleman was directly responsible for host an Evening Parade at 8th and I streets for Original Montford Pointer Henry Baul. Mr Baul was the guest of honor among the thousands of guests and dignitaries in attendance.

Activities: Visibility Both your National President and National Vice President have worked very hard to make ourselves available across the country not only at Chapter and National Events, but at Veterans events and sister services events. Only through appearances and speeches will the story of our heroes finally be told. Both Mike and I are very consciences of the cost of travel and have only appeared at three or four events together over the past four years. We both have been careful to plan events so that the Association receives maximum exposure from our visits. What we both are particularly proud of is our visits and calls to Original Montford Pointers from time to time just too simply see how they are doing.

Marine Corps Council The council meeting for April 18, 2009 was attended by National Historian Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Carpenter. Although there were no Montford Point specific agenda items, we feel it is very important that the MPMA has a seat of this gathering of Marine Corps Veterans group.

Spring Council Meeting Houston TX 2008 Spring Council was one of our most productive meetings. Your great attitude and enthusiasm made this council meeting enjoyable for all. Members were excited about the hotel accommodations. The one concern was transportation to and from the airport. We must consider this cost and time when planning for a convention

Convention 2008 The Houston Chapter gave us a convention for the ages! We hosted the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Conway along with a host of General Officers and senior enlisted leadership. Our meetings went smoothly and the social events were well planned and executed. We cannot thank Houston Chapter President and National Veteran Affairs Officer Leo Taylor and his team enough for ensuring we put our best foot forward for the top leadership of our Corps!

Fall Council 2008 in accordance with our by-laws was held telephonically in December 2008. We had the majority of the Executive Committee on the call and they all submitted informative timely reports. In order for the Fall Council to be successful we must hold those officers responsible to submit their reports no later than 30 days after our National Convention.

We cannot begin the next Association Year until we close the books on the current one. Southern Regional Meeting 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.

Central Region Meeting I attended the 2009 Central Region meeting in Saint Louis along with our National Vice President Mike Johnson. We had representatives from the Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville and Saint Louis Chapters. 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 widow 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.

Convention 2009 Will be held at the St. Louis Airport Marriott from 22 thru 26 July 2009. Please mark your calendars now. Convention packages should be in the mail by 1 May. There is no need to wait for your package to make your reservations. As in most years hotel rooms will probably be scarce by mid June. Please make your reservations early for these events at:

We currently have a request for US Senate Chaplain Barry Black to be our guest speaker at this year’s National Banquet. We will entertain other suggestions after the May 1st response deadline.

Convention 2010 is scheduled to be held in the Quantico, Virginia area. National Awards Chair and past Quantico Chapter President, Kenny Crutcher will give us an updated brief on this at our Spring Council Convention 2011 and beyond It is never too early to bid and plan to hold our National Convention.

Houston proved that you can pull of a first rate convention with a handful of dedicated individuals. Please seriously consider hosting our convention near your chapter.

Convention Journal The deadline date for Advertisement in the Journal is 1 June 2009. We have lowered the prices considerably and highly encourage all chapters to take out an ad in our Journal. If you want an Ad in the Journal call Tony Chestang at 314-438-1076.

MPMA Issues Ways and Means Our Ways and Means is predicated upon us being in good financial status with government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. I will speak on this later when we get to our goals.Dues/Membership We routinely pay dues late, slow or not at all. We can no longer except this as the norm and continue to exist. The National Office realizes that we must do better at accepting new members and putting a membership card in their hands timely. This is something we can always improve upon.

MPMA Administrative Cost We must do better with handling administrative cost. I am encouraging those National Officers that are reimbursed travel to make their reservations as far in advance as possible to keep these costs down. Travel for our National Officers is by far our greatest expense. We must look for ways to continue to monitor our admin costs.

The importance of current chapter rosters cannot be understated. We constantly have mail returned to us from incorrect addresses. Chapters please do your share in ensuring that accurate rosters are received by our National Recording Secretary. Convention SOP National is responsible and liable for all convention events. We have adopted a Convention SOP as a guide to conduct conventions. This policy will be adhered to.

There is still some fine-tuning to be done to this document, but it is workable. This document is a giant step onto the future. I asked that you read this SOP and give the National Convention Director input.

Queens Contest This is our only National Fund raiser and although we do OK with raising funds to support both our Scholarship efforts by our operating expenses, I believe we are not maximizing this opportunity. Chapters can literally raise enough money to operate for the entire year while at the same time shoring up the National Coffers and bring recognition to our social commitment to help deserving youths with seeking higher education. I ask each and every one of you to rededicate yourself and open up your hearts and checkbooks to this cause. With nearly 900 members if every member were responsible for just three books of 25 tickets we could raise over $65,000.00! I’ve sold 4 books so far, how many have you sold???? GOALS·

One goal that should be at the top of our list is that of a legal council. Now that we have achieved greater visibility we must ensure our financial house is in order with regulatory agencies. If you know of an attorney that is willing to assists us please contact the National President or Vice President.To continue to establish Chapters across the Country so that no matter where we host the Convention it will be convenient for many members. Currently nearly 80% of our membership is located east of the Mississippi. As much as we would like to entertain a West Coast convention, it simply does not make business sense to ask our members, many of them are up in age, to travel that far.

In my mind I can see no reason why we do not have chapters both in Oceanside, California and Yuma, Arizona. There are vast Marine and Military installations that can support chapters in this these areas.To continue to bring debunk chapters back in the fold. We are very proud of the Atlanta, Albany and Quantico Chapters that have been reestablished and are flourishing.To continue to lobby Congress for a Congressional Gold Medal for the Original Montford Pointers. Although there has been movement on this, we cannot move fast enough because we are losing our original members at a very fast pace. This must be a priority for us!· To realign some of our regions.

It does not make sense to me that the Northern Region has but 4 chapters (two functional) and the Southern has 17, of which most are functional. This puts a strain on any Regional VP who must keep up with many chapters. I plan to resubmit a resolution to draw the line between our North and South Regions at Virginia. This will effectively move four chapters from the South to the North giving the North 8 Chapters and the South will have approximately 13. A much more balanced and manageable number. I ask your support in this resolution to our by-laws To the Membership.

It has truly been an honor and a privilege to lead this magnificent organization over the past four years. I cannot thank the National Officers enough for their support, encouragement and hard work that they do day in and day out.

I would also like to thank the many chapters that I had the opportunity to visit over the past four years as your National President. Your hospitality and grace has many times left me humbled. I only ask that you support the next administration as much as you did this one.For the very bottom of my heart THANK YOU and SEMPER FIDELIS!




Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD


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