TO ALL MONTFORD POINT MARINES, MEMBERS AND FRIENDS

bullet If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.
bullet If you woke up this morning with more health than illness...you are more blessed than the one million who will not survive this week.
bullet If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation .. you are ahead of 500 million people in the world today.
bullet If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death...you are more blessed than three billion people on this earth.
bullet If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep...you are richer than 75% of the worlds population.
bullet If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace...you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.
bullet If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful...you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
bullet If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder...you are blessed because you can offer a healing touch.

 

 

 

60 Years ago: Daniel Bankhead, and original Montford Pointer, broke into baseball with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues as a shortstop in 1940. On April 22, 1943 he joined the Marine Corps in Macon, GA and was part of an all Negro Baseball team stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina which was kept in the States for the duration of the war and toured as a “morale raiser”.

He played shortstop and the outfield. He was released from the service on June 7,1946 at the Naval Ammunition Depot in McAlester, OK as a Sergeant and joined the Memphis TN Red Sox also of the Negro Leagues and was converted to a pitcher. He was the first pitcher of African American ancestry to appear in the Major Leagues and made his Major League debut on August 26th, 1947. He also hit a home run in his first time at bat and was the first National League pitcher to do that. In 1948 he was with Nashua, NH in the Class B New England League where he led the league in winds with 20 and he also led the league in strikeouts. Late in that season he was moved to St. Paul MN in the Class AAA International League. At St. Paul his record was 4-0.

He spent the 1949 season with Montreal, Canada, also of the International League and again won 20 games. He remained with the Dodgers for the 1950 season and started the 1951 season wit them and in July was sent back to Montreal, Canada. He had pitched in 52 games for the Dodgers. After two seasons with Montreal he began playing in the Canadian Provincial League and in 1954 began playing in Mexico. He played until 1965 and died May 2nd 1976.

 

 

GREASON, WILLIAM H. b. September 3, 1924

Bill Greason was raised in Atlanta, GA, and joined the Marines in Macon, GA, on May 13, 1943. He was sent to the Marine boot camp for African-Americans at Montford Point, NC and from there went to California and then to the Pacific where he served in Iwo Jima with the 34th Marine Depot Company. He was awarded the Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar, 1 battle star, Japan Occupation Medal and Presidential Unit Citation with 1 Bronze Star. On March 30, 1946 he was released from the service at Atlanta, as a Private First Class.

He had not played baseball in high school but after the Marines found he had a talent for the game and was able to play in the Negro Leagues with Birmingham, AL, Asheville, NC and Nashville, TN. He began playing for Jalisco, MEX, in the Independent Mexican League in 1950 and 1951 and then was called back to active duty with the Marines on July 14, 1951. He served with Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC, and played baseball. He was released from the Marines on July 14, 1952 and joined organized baseball with Oklahoma City, OK, in the Class AA Texas League in 1952 and 1953. On May 31, 1954 he made his major league debut with the Cardinals and then was sent to Columbus, OH, of the Class AAA American Association. He then spent 5 more years in the minor leagues before retiring. He had pitched in 3 major league games for the Cardinals.

His weekly news column,"Jimmy Says" was a three decade must for Black Dispatch readers. Jimmy was the prime pusher to get the book  "Black  History of Oklahoma" funded and served on its editorial advisory committee.

Theses recording are just some of the James E Stewart Sr, collection, his personal accounts of national and community leaders, and the history of the civil rights movement of Oklahoma and his first hand accounts of the first Black Marines (Jimmy was a original Montford Point Marine) of world war two. This personal gift of knowledge and history will be given to the Oklahoma Historical Society and major parts to Langston University. These recording are part of the record of the past. They reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. Due to the nature of these recording they are presented in an unmodified and unedited format including any comments added during editing. This means that the recording are electronic copies of the original recording created on older cassette. They are some of the most interesting recordings, I have ever heard on this era of Oklahoma history. James E Stewart Jr

As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Obama is committed to helping the heroes who defend our nation today and the veterans who fought in years past. A grandson of a World War II veteran who went to college on the G.I. Bill, Senator Obama has reached out to Republicans and Democrats in order to honor our commitment to America's veterans.

MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY MOVIE CLICK TO SEE VIDEO

  pproximately 20,000 African American recruits received training at Montford Point Camp (less than 10% of the Marine Corps end strength) during World War II. The initial intent of the Marine Corps hierarchy was to discharge these African American Marines after the War, returning them to civilian life - leaving the Marine Corps an all-white organization. Attitudes changed and reality took hold as the war progressed. Once given the chance to prove themselves, it became impossible to deny the fact that this new breed of Marine was just as capable as all other Marines regardless of race, color, creed or National origin.

US Marine Corps History

   CLICK TO SEE THERE STORY ON VIDEO

93. "Breaking a tradition of 167 years, the U.S. Marine Corps started enlisting Negroes on June 1, 1942. The first class of 1,200 Negro volunteers began their training 3 months later as members of the 51st Composite Defense Battalion at Montford Point, a section of the 200-square-mile Marine Base, Camp Lejeune, at New River, NC. The first Negro in camp was Howard P. Perry shown here." N.d. Roger Smith. 208-NP-10KK-1. (african_americans_wwii_093.jpg)

94. "The first Negro to be commissioned in the Marine Corps has his second lieutenant's bars pinned on by his wife. He is Frederick C. Branch of Charlotte, NC." November 1945. 127-N-500043. (african_americans_wwii_094.jpg)

95. "Handling Negro Marine public relations at the Montford Point Camp here are Sgt. Lucious A. Wilson (left)..., and his photographer, Cpl. Edwin K. Anderson... Sgt. Wilson is a former correspondent for the New York Amsterdam News...." N.d. 208-NP-10FFFF-1. (african_americans_wwii_095.jpg)

96. "Marine Cpl. Robert L. Hardin...checks the main distributing frame in Montford Point's headquarters for line difficulties." N.d. Sgt. L. A. Wilson. 127-N-8768. (african_americans_wwii_096.jpg)

97. "... Although a dress uniform is not a part of the regular equipment, most of the Negro Marines spend $54 out of their pay for what is generally considered the snappiest uniform in the armed services... Photo shows a group of the Negro volunteers in their dress uniforms." Ca. May 1943. Roger Smith. 208-NP-10NN-2. (african_americans_wwii_097.jpg)

98. "First Negro Marines decorated by the famed Second Marine Division somewhere in the Pacific (left to right) Staff Sgt Timerlate Kirven...and Cpl. Samuel J. Love, Sr... They received Purple Hearts for wounds received in the Battle of Saipan..." N.d. 208-NP-10SSSS-1. (african_americans_wwii_098.jpg)

99. "Pfc. Luther Woodward..., a member of the Fourth Ammunition Company, admires the Bronze Star awarded to him for `his bravery, initiative and battle-cunning.' ..." The award was later upgraded to the Silver Star. April 17, 1945. Cpl. Irving Deutch. 127-N-119492. (african_americans_wwii_099.jpg)

100. "Marines, following the rapid Japanese retreat northward on Okinawa, pause for a moments rest at the base of a Japanese war memorial. They are (on steps) Pfc. F. O. Snowden; Navy Pharmacist's Mate, 2nd class R. Martin; (on monument, left to right) Pvt. J. T. Walton, Pvt. R. T. Ellenberg, Pfc. Clyde Brown, Pvt. Robb Brawner. Photo was taken during the battle for Okinawa." April 12, 1945. Cpl. Art Sarno. 127-N-117624.®¯ (african_americans_wwii_100.jpg)

101. "Peleliu Island...Marines move through the trenches on the beach during the battle." September 15, 1944. Fitzgerald. 127-N-9527. (african_americans_wwii_101.jpg)

102. "Iwo Jima...Negro Marines on the beach at Iwo Jima are, from left to right, Pfcs. Willie J. Kanody, Elif Hill, and John Alexander." March 1945. C. Jones. 127-N-11383. (african_americans_wwii_102.jpg)

103. "Negro Marines, attached to the Third Ammunition Company, take time out from supplying ammunition to the front line on Saipan. Riding captured...bicycle is Pfc. Horace Boykin; and left to right, Cpl. Willis T. Anthony, Pfc. Emmitt Shackelford, and Pfc. Eugene Purdy." June 1944. 127-N-8600. (african_americans_wwii_103.jpg)

104. "Aboard a Coast Guard-manned transport..., a Negro Marine, Robert Stockman, goes over his carbine with Coast Guardsmen." Ca. February 1944. 26-G-321. (african_americans_wwii_104.jpg)

105. "Aboard a Coast Guard-manned transport somewhere in the Pacific, these Negro Marines prepare to face the fire of Jap[anese] gunners." Ca. February 1944. 26-G-321. (african_americans_wwii_105.jpg)

106. "Surrounded by a veteran crew of Marines who have spent 15 months in the Southwest and Central Pacific, this gun, named the 'Lena Horne' by its crew, points majestically skyward. The gun is manned by members of [the 51st] Defense Battalion, one of two such Negro units in the Corps." 1945. Nicholson. 127-N-12174. (african_americans_wwii_106.jpg)

107. "Two Negro Marine movie operators." January 1945. 127-N-109561. (african_americans_wwii_107.jpg)

108. "Two Negro duck [DUKW] drivers turn riflemen after their vehicle is destroyed." February 19, 1945. Christian. 127-N-111123. (african_americans_wwii_108.jpg)

109. "Marine Sgt. F. Smit...and Cpl. S. Brown...open a coconut to get a cool drink on Saipan." June 1944. 127-GW-1359-85636. (african_americans_wwii_109.jpg)

110. "Carrying a Jap[anese] prisoner from stockade to be evacuated and treated for malnutrition. Iwo Jima." February 23, 1945. Don Fox. 127-N-110622. (african_americans_wwii_110.jpg)

111. "Negro assault troops await orders D-day to attack enemy shortly after they had come ashore at Saipan in the Marianas." June 1944. T/Sgt. William Fitch. U.S. Coast Guard, 127-N-83928. (african_americans_wwii_111.jpg)

 

 


 

"THE MEN FROM MONTFORD POINT" 

 

Since that eventful year of 1942, an entirely new generation of Marine has come into our Corps. Most of those doing today, what I was doing from 1942, 1949 most hadn't even been born during those great times when Marines were marching down between the pine trees at the only place in the world. Where Harlem Drive and Rochester Lane come together, remember? So as befits an older generation, it becomes our privilege to look back on some of eventful years and pull from those things we keep as memories. And those memories some of them-will be of times spent in unpleasant places, with an unpleasant enemy. But not all of them. If all wartime memories were bad, we wouldn't have reunions. Nor would there be a Montford Point Marine Association. Marines are a sentimental breed. We like to speak of remembered things; have our minds dwell on great events; and get together with old friends. And at times such as this one, we bring faces to minds-faces whose names may have left us long ago, but faces associated with deeds we can never forget. On this Anniversary, I'd like to share a few memories with you.

Mounted in a large, glass -cover frame which hangs on the bulkhead at headquarters Marine Corps-there are all the shoulder patches that Marines used to wear. A couple of them have embroidered outlines of anti-aircraft guns pointed towards the sky. One bears the numeral "51" the other "52." And there's a third patch. This one in the form of a red shield, surmounted with an eagle, and bearing a golden circle inside of which is southern cross ? No motto of any kind ? What do they mean ?" Well, they found out what they meant in a mighty short time. They meant the breaking of all anti- aircraft gunnery records that had been set by Marines. One of the gun crews that helped set those new records proudly dubbed their 90 millimeter in honor of the greatest female vocalist of that day- "Lena " was the name they painted on their gun barrel.

But "Triple A' gunnery wasn't the only record. Montford Point showed every team around Camp Lejeune how to play baseball-and 5 foot 4 inch Platoon Sergeant Charlie Riggs cleaned up every honor to be had in the boxing ring. They found out some other meanings for those patches. This one in the form of a Red Shield, depicting the long, hard road to Japan- islands with names like Funafuti and Eniwetok; Roi-Namur and Saipan; Guam and Kwajalein. And they meant ammunition in the hands of riflemen and machine gunners; ammunition in their hands at highly critical moments on such god-forgotten places as Peleliu and Iwo Jima. On Peleui the 5th Marines were running out ammunition. The password that night was any American automobile. And all night long the 5th Marines heard those words.: "I'm a Cadilllac; I'm a Chrysler; I'm a Lincoln Continental; I'm a one-man working party and I'm bring bullets to the line. Don't shoot! " Those carrying parties from the 7th Ammunition Company did get through, not only to the 5th Marines, but everywhere else there were friendly troops on the island. And, on their return to the beach, they carried out the wounded. There are more meanings to those patches. They meant ammo dumps on the terrible beach at Iwo-where the black volcanic ashes tugged at your boondockers and cut through those old canvas leggings.

There a young Marine from the 8th Ammunition Company dared to use a satchel charge for a pillow. Somebody accused him of being reckless with his life. "Listen, " the Marine said, "If just one Japanese lands around here, then everything goes sky-high. I'm not being reckless, I'm just being comfortable." So he, and many another Marines, yearned for the comforts they'd had back at Montford Point. They'd have traded the entrie island for that friendly sand and those cozy Quonset huts on the banks of New River. Montford Point had become the next best thing to home. Even the tender hands of Judo Instructor, Al Ghazio- or the soothing voices of "Hashmark" Johnson's D. I.'s-even those were pleasant compared to the pounding of Japanese mortars and aritillery. More than one Marine would have welcomed the sight, even, of Boondock Shorty." Yes, Montford Point had its characters in those days. It had its brighter moments, too. There was Bobby Troup's Dance Band, playing for the famous tap-dance team of Henderson and Reliford- and anybody else who felt like jitter-bugging in the aisles. There was a song that Bobby Troup wrote. It expressed the tempo of those times, and the feeling of all Marines stationed at New River. Remember? The words were: "Take me away from Jacksonville.

Marines used to belt out that song around Montford Point. They sang it on the long, long, trains for the west coast. They hummed it standing in those endless lines at the Trailway Bus anywhere outside Onslow County. In May of 1943, one Marine managed to get as for as Terminal and on the buses to Kingston, Rocky Mount, or Wilmington-those liberty runs to Cleveland all turned out to see in his $54.00 dress blues. But the police in Cleveland had never seen a Montford Point man-so they picked him up and charged him with Impersonating a Marine." But (PFC) R. J. Wood soon proved that he was, indeed, a United States Marine. And so did 21,609 other men who went through Montford Point. The great majority proved it overseas. Others proved it up in Philadelphia at the Supply Depot, and still others at the Naval Ammunition Depot out in McAlester, Oklahoma. But-it all had to pass, someday. So finally, in 1949, they closed down the recruit training operation at Montford Point. Some said they were ending a tradition with that closing. But I disagree. I say they established one, one we keep today as we recall more than over 60 years of dedicated service to Corps and Country. One we keep alive when we honor Black Marines on this Anniversary. There's one name I should recall- that of Colonel Samuel A. Woods, the first Commanding Officer of the "Special Duty" outfits that were created, trained, and sent to war from down there at New River long before it was known as Camp Lejeune. Colonel Woods passed away on the 12th of March, 1968, in Phoenixville, Pa. I know he's proud of his Marines, and of his association. And for every Marine in our Corps- I'm sure his thoughts would have paralleled my own which are these: The footprints of Montford Point Marines were left on the beaches of Roi-Namur, Saipan, Guam, Peleliu, and Iwo Jima. The tides and winds have, long ago, washed them out into the seas of history. But, "the Chosen Few" in field shoes and canvas leggings, also left their mark in the firm concrete of Marine Corps History. And, as new Marines learn to march in those footprints, their cadence assumes the proud stride of the men from Montford Point.  SEMPER FI, (ALLWAYS FAITHFUL) 

Montford Point Marine, Iwo Jima Veteran & (Past National President) Gene Doughty  Visits MSG Battalion This year congratulations are also extended to PNP (Past National President) Gene Doughty - as he is awarded the Title President Emeritus at this year's 2007-2008 Convention. Gene will be extending for another year as the MPMA National Scholarship Chairman, has served in several capacities within the organization for over 30 years. Gene joined the Corps in April 1943 as one of the original Montford Pointers - appointed to one of the 1st 50 platoons at Montford Point. Following his training and induction - he served during the Iwo Invasion of WWII. As one of the valued historians of the organization Gene has made himself available to speak at varied events around the nation - including the WWII International Conference related to the plight of African Americans who served during this time.

MCB QUANTICO, Va., Quantico’s Marine Security Guard Battalion invited Iwo Jima veteran Gene Doughty to be a guest speaker as they learned more about the Marine Corps’ heritage in the Crowley Classroom at the battalion’s headquarters. Doughty is one of the original African Americans who joined the Corps and trained at the former Montford Point, a facility near Camp Lejeune, N.C. “It was only 65 years ago that African Americans were allowed to enter the Marine Corps,” said Col. David Head, MSG Bn. commanding officer. “It was June of 1942 when Executive Order 8802 prohibited government contractors from engaging in employment discrimination based on race, color or national origin. It was the first presidential action ever taken to prevent employment discrimination by private employers holding government contracts.” Col. Head said the order established the Fair Employment Practice Commission, banning discrimination in all government agencies. It also began erasing discrimination in the military and forced all services to accept African Americans.

When African Americans were recruited into the Marine Corps, they were not sent to bootcamp at one of the traditional training depots. Instead, they were segregated, experiencing basic training at Montford Point. Roughly 20,000 African American Marines were trained there from 1942 to 1949. During this period, two defense composite battalions, the 51st and 52nd, were formed and many of its units were sent to the Pacific front of World War II. Most of the African American Marines were assigned to depots and ammunition companies and were employed in shore parties at such places as Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa durning the island hopping campaign, Head said.

“The heroic actions of the Montford Point Marines during this period eventually earned them the respect of all Marines,” Head said. “By the war’s end, being a Montford Point Marine became a badge of honor.”

Doughty was one of the many Montford Point Marines sent ashore at Iwo Jima to experience one of the bloodiest and most famed battles in history. He even celebrated his 21st birthday on the black sands and remembers his squad receiving its first hot meal in almost a month that day. “We fought just like everyone else and did our best to live up to the title Marine,” Doughty said. “At Iwo, it was said, and I quote, ‘The Negro Marine is no longer on trial. They are Marines.’ And my point is that this is not just black history. This is Marine Corps history.”

Doughty explained the battle to the MSG Marines who listened intently as he described the actions of his fellow Montford Point Marines and other well-known heroes such as Medal of Honor recipient Jack Lucas, whom Doughty said he knew very well.

After describing the battle overseas, Doughty explained the battle faced back home when the Marines returned. “I remember that if you took a bus, say from Washington, D.C., to Camp Lejeune, you could sit wherever you wanted, but at a certain point as you went south, they would still have you move to the back,” Doughty recalled. “If a black Marine wore his uniform, he would be arrested for impersonation.”

Col. Head said that reprieve came for African American Marines in July 1949 when President Harry S. Truman eliminated segregated units. Then, in September that same year, Montford Point was deactivated, officially ending seven years of segregation.

In April 1974 Montford Point was renamed Camp Johnson in honor of Sgt. Maj. Gilbert “Hashmark” Johnson, one of the first African Americans to join the Corps. Johnson was a distinguished Montford Point drill instructor and veteran of WWII and Korea. The camp remains the only Marine Corps installation named in honor of an African American. Also present with Doughty was James Steward Jr., the President of the Montford Point Marines Association’s Maryland Chapter. Steward was stationed at Quantico’s Larson Gymnasium from 1968 to 1969 as a member of the All-Marine Track Team and served in Vietnam. He is also the son of James E. Steward Sr., an original Montford Point Marine.

Steward also relayed some of his stories to the Marines and explained how proud he was to wear the uniform back then and how proud he still is today. “I see the pride I had from Vietnam in you all today,” Steward said. “I can safely say that the Marine Corps is in good hands.

“A lot has developed since we were in,” Doughty said. “I’m glad to say that good things are happening, and it makes me proud of every day that I wore the uniform.” Doughty and Steward were presented with tokens of gratitude, including the official MSG challenge coin for Doughty to add to his large collection. We must never forget about Marines like Gene Doughty. Head said. Because of their personal sacrifices we can enjoy the opportunities we have today.

 JAMES E STEWART JR PRESIDENT

JOHN TILLMAN VICE PRESIDENT

Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD

 

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