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Pioneering black Marines get their badge of courage

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 02:59 PM
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Pioneering black Marines get their badge of courage
Congress voted Tuesday to grant the first black fighters of the last military branch to accept them the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor.

The 422-0 vote honors about 20,000 Montford Point Marines, who trained in a separate facility called Montford Point that operated at Camp Lejeune, N.C., from 1942 to 1949 when all military branches were segregated.

"This has been a real long time coming," said Johnny C. Washington, 82. "It seems like everything we did for a long time was hidden. It's been real frustrating when you see others get recognition and not us."

While the African-American Army Buffalo Soldiers and the Air Force Tuskegee Airmen have had some measure of renown, the first black Marines have grown old mostly in obscurity.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2011-10-25/...

More than 300 lawmakers were co-sponsors of the legislation, providing Republicans and Democrats with a rare moment of bipartisanship. Lawmakers from both parties spoke in favor of the resolution, which was sponsored by Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Marine Corps to accept blacks. The Marine Corps was the last military branch to do so.

Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., noted that the Montford Point Marines were presumed unsuited for combat and not allowed to fight alongside their white counterparts until the Korean War. Still, they underwent intense fire in their supporting roles in the Pacific during World War II, serving at Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

They served with great valor and distinction and loved their country more than their country loved them at the time, Miller said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/house-v...
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