CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL APPROVED FOR MONTFORD POINT MARINES

Date Signed: 12/02/2011
ALMARS Active Number: 047/11

R 022041Z DEC 11
UNCLASSIFIED//
ALMAR 047/11
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS //
SUBJ/CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL APPROVED FOR MONTFORD POINT MARINES//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1.  ON 23 NOVEMBER 2011, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SIGNED INTO LAW A BILL TO AWARD THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL TO THE MONTFORD POINT MARINES.  THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL IS THE NATION'S HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR FOR DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT.
2.  OUR MONTFORD POINT BROTHERS ARE PATRIOTS.  FROM 1942-1949, NEARLY 20,000 AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN FROM ACROSS AMERICA CAME TO MONTFORD POINT CAMP IN JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA SEEKING THE AMERICAN DREAM OF INCLUSION AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEFEND OUR COUNTRY AS A UNITED STATES MARINE.  LIKE THE WIDER SOCIETY AT LARGE THAT WAS SOCIALLY AND CULTURALLY DIVIDED BY RACE, THE MARINE CORPS TRAINED THESE MEN SEPARATELY DENYING THEM THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE CORPS AND IN ITS RICH TRADITION OF SERVICE.  THESE MEN SERVED IN BATTLE, PROVIDED CRITICAL SUPPLIES TO THOSE ON THE FRONT LINES AND EVACUATED THE WOUNDED TO SAFETY.  THEY DID THEIR JOBS WITH PROFESSIONALISM AND ABLY PROVED THEIR COURAGE IN EPIC BATTLES OF THE PACIFIC LIKE SAIPAN, IWO JIMA, AND OKINAWA.
3.  BECAUSE THESE MEN PERSEVERED, THE MARINE CORPS UNDERWENT A SOCIAL AWAKENING THAT LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR GREATER EQUALITY AND OPPORTUNITY.  MANY MONTFORD POINT MARINES CARRIED THEIR EXCEPTIONAL STRENGTH OF CHARACTER TO THEIR LIVES OUTSIDE THE MARINE CORPS, BECOMING LEADERS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, MAYORS, AMBASSADORS, EDUCATORS, LAWYERS, MINISTERS, AND DOCTORS.  SOME WENT ON TO INTEGRATE THE SHIPYARDS OF AMERICA, WEAVING EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY INTO THE FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY.  THEIR STORY IS ONE OF TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY.  THEIR LEGACY OF COURAGE AND PERSEVERANCE IS AN INSPIRATION TO ALL MARINES.
4.  THE DIVERSITY OF TODAY'S MARINE CORPS WAS PAVED IN LARGE PART BY THE SELFLESS DEDICATION TO DUTY OF THE MONTFORD POINT MARINES.  FEW OF THESE HEROES REMAIN TODAY.  OF THE NEARLY 20,000 AFRICAN-AMERICAN MARINES WHO WENT THROUGH MONTFORD POINT, APPROXIMATELY 200 STILL SURVIVE.  THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL WILL HONOR ALL MONTFORD POINT MARINES FROM A GRATEFUL NATION AND MARINE CORPS.
5.  THIS RECOGNITION IS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE DEDICATED AND PERSISTENT WORK OF THE MONTFORD POINT MARINE ASSOCIATION, NUMEROUS ACTIVE, RESERVE, RETIRED, AND CIVILIAN MARINES, AND THE FAITHFULNESS OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS; THANK YOU.  CONGRATULATIONS ON A JOB WELL DONE.
6.  SEMPER FIDELIS.  JAMES F. AMOS, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS.//