Montford Point Marines National Museum
Camp Johnson NC, Next To Camp Lejeune, NC  


   Telephone / Fax: 1-910-450-1340

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The Montford Point Marine Museum was established to preserve the legacy of the Montford Point Marines.  To collect, record, preserve and display, in a museum setting for public education and viewing, the largest collection of photographs, documents, papers, and artifacts, forever capturing the unique history of African American Marines from 1942 to 1949, this is our primary mission.

In additional to the museum primary mission,  the role of the museum is to display memories of the past and show the public how significant those experiences have influenced events of today, for the next generation.


The Montford Point Marines Museum is housed on the hollow grounds of Montford Point Camp in the East Wing of building M101, Marine Corps Base, Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, Jacksonville, NC.  The director of the Museums is Mr. Finney Greggs. 

Museum Hours

 The museum is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Other times are available by appointment.  Call (910) 450-1340 to schedule a viewing.  Staff is on call for out of town visitors call (850) 499-6727.


 A valid military identification card or a temporary base pass is required to enter Camp Johnson. This pass must be picked up at the main gate of Camp Lejeune.  Call (850) 499-6727 for additional guidance.

The Marines of Montford Point

The Marines of Montford Point entered through its main gate as mere men of color, who had pride, courage and dedication.   During the 1940s these men traveled a road that was not paved.  They graduated to become Marines and brought the American people and the U.S. Marine Corps into a new era. Today many of the Marines who traveled through this groundbreaking period of American and Marine Corps history have contributed their life's successes to the pain, sacrifices, and rewards that were earned at Montford Point.


The acquisition committee of Montford Point Museum is currently seeking material for future displays. The first phase of the program is to seek specific material from WWII era Montford Point Marines and their families.  Items include but are not limited to: photographs, diaries, personal and military objects, and other materials that reflect the lives, actions, and memories of original Montford Point Marines. Only items that spanned the specific years of c.1942-1949 are needed for phase one. 

If you have material that is needed for phase one there are two ways of contributing those items. The first way is as a permanent gift, and the second way is as a short term or long term loan.  In all cases material will be handled with care, protection, and above all else with respect. Items gathered during these drives will be used by the museum and will be made available to historians, researchers, and the general public for the advancement of historical preservation and awareness.

 51st Defense Battalion
 (August 1942-January 1946)


Organized at Montford Point Camp, New River, North Carolina, this was the first of two defense battalions commanded by white officers, but organized from among African-American Marines who had trained at Montford Point. Colonel Samuel Woods, Jr., who commanded the Montford Point Camp, formed the battalion and became its first commanding officer. Lieutenant Colonel William B. Onley took over in March 1943 and Lieutenant Colonel Floyd A. Stephenson in April. The initial plan called for the 51st to be a composite unit with infantry and packhowitzer elements, but in June 1943 it became a conventional defense battalion. Lieutenant Curbs W. LeGette assumed command in January 1944 and took the battalion to Nanoumea and Funafuti in the Ellice Islands, where it arrived by the end of February 1944. In September, the 51st deployed to Eniwetok in the Marshalls where, in December, Lieutenant Colonel Gould P Groves became battalion commander, a post he would hold throughout the rest of the war. In June 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Groves dispatched a composite group to provide antiaircraft defense for Kwajalein Atoll. The battalion sailed from the Marshalls in November 1945 and disbanded at Montford Point in January 1946.

 52d Defense Battalion
 (December 1943-May 1946)

This unit, like the 51st, was organized at Montford Point Camp, New River, North Carolina, and manned by African Americans commanded by white officers. Planned as a composite unit, the 52d took shape as a conventional defense battalion. It absorbed the pack howitzer crews made surplus when the 51st lost its composite status and retrained them in the employment of other weapons. Colonel Augustus W. Cockrell organized the unit, which he turned over to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph W. Earnshaw in July 1944. Under Earnshaw, the 52d the unit deployed to the Marshalls, arriving in October to man the antiaircraft defenses of Majuro Atoll and Roi-Namur in Kwajalein Atoll. Lieutenant Colonel David W. Silvey assumed command in January 1945, and between March and May the entire battalion deployed to Guam, remaining there for the rest of the war. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas C. Moore, Jr., replaced Silvey in May 1945, and in November, the 52d relieved the 51st at Kwajalein and Eniwetok Atolls before returning to Montford Point, where in May 1946 it became the 3d Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (Composite).  

The US Marine Corps History and Museums Division has provided links that may be of interest to our viewers. However, the US Marine Corps History and Museums Division does not endorse the facts presented or, if any, the products advertised by these web sites.

Official site of the United States Marine Corps


Marine Corps Heritage Foundation
Official site to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation


Marine Corps Association
Official site to the Marine Corps Association


National Archives and Record Administrations
Official site of the National Archives

Navy Historical Center
Official site for the United States Navy histories


Coast Guard Facts, Images, History and More
Official site of the United States Coast Guard histories

Army Center of Military History
Official site of the United States Army histories


Air Force History Support Office
Official sites of the United States Air Force History Support Office


Official site of the United States Department of Defense



Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD


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