First black Marines receive nation’s highest civilian honor:
The Army’s Buffalo Soldiers and the Air Force’s Tuskegee Airmen, or Red Tails, have had their day of recognition. Wednesday the Montford Point Marines had theirs, as the Marine Corps and Congress honored 400 of the first black Marines by giving them the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
The United States Marine Corps was the last branch of the armed services to allow black people into their ranks.
It is about time these men, very tough men got the medals they deserve but more importantly they got the recognition and the respect they had coming to them. It is too bad that 99% of them did not live long enough to see it.
Take it from one who knows first-hand just how bad Marine Corps boot camp can be. If a person was a northerner they were in big trouble but if their name ended in a vowel the shit really hit the fan. Quoting the DI “Boy you better had given your soul to god because your ass is mine!”
The majority of the drill instructors were southerners that were pissed off that the south lost the Civil War and were going to kick any Yankee’s ass they could to try and get even; and that is if you were white. I called them the Masters of Disaster.
These black Marines in the 1940’s went through hell on earth in their basic training; far beyond what any normal person could possible endure.
While being transported to Camp Lejeune by train for their basic training, when the train passed the Mason Dixon Line (the imaginary line separating the north and the south) the train was stopped, the blacks were taken out of the passengers section of the train and put behind engine in the coal car for the rest of their trip until they arrived in Jacksonville, North Carolina. That was the southern equivalent of putting the black people on the back of the bus.
“When we got off the bus, we had a rude awakening,” recalled Montford Point Marine Cpl. James Pack in an interview with Fox News. “I said, “Lord, what did I get myself into?”
Said like a true Marine when asked how he perceived his time in the Marine Corps “It’s a great honor,” said Cpl. Pack, as he started to cry.
It is a shame that it took our government so long to give these men the recognition and acknowledgment they so richly deserve but maybe we have turned a little corner in this country where all men should be treated equally.