HomeNewsNews Display
  • 30
  • Jul
  • 2014
Competitors run in honor of Montford Point Marines

By Lance Cpl. Eric Keenan, Defense Media Activity

Marines stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico fire rounds with M16A4 service rifles during the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014.  The biathlon honored the African-American Marines who were trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, formerly known as Montford Point, before the executive order passed and signed in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman ended segregation in the armed services.
Competitors run in honor of Montford Point Marines
Marines stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico fire rounds with M16A4 service rifles during the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014. The biathlon honored the African-American Marines who were trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, formerly known as Montford Point, before the executive order passed and signed in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman ended segregation in the armed services.
Ronald S. Coleman, a retired Marine lieutenant general, presents medals to competitors during the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014.  The top three performing teams were recognized and awarded a medal, followed by the fastest individual time and best individual shooters during the competition.
Competitors run in honor of Montford Point Marines
Ronald S. Coleman, a retired Marine lieutenant general, presents medals to competitors during the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014. The top three performing teams were recognized and awarded a medal, followed by the fastest individual time and best individual shooters during the competition.
Ronald S. Coleman, a retired Marine lieutenant general, presents Richard H. Walker, a retired Marine gunnery sergeant trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson formerly known as Montford Point, a medal during the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014.
Competitors run in honor of Montford Point Marines
Ronald S. Coleman, a retired Marine lieutenant general, presents Richard H. Walker, a retired Marine gunnery sergeant trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson formerly known as Montford Point, a medal during the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014.
Gunnery Sgt. Richard H. Walker, a retired Marine trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, formerly known as Montford Point, speaks on behalf of the Montford Point Marine Association to the competitors of the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014. The event honored the African-American Marines who were trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, formerly known as Montford Point, as well as promoted camaraderie and teamwork between the competitors.
Competitors run in honor of Montford Point Marines
Gunnery Sgt. Richard H. Walker, a retired Marine trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, formerly known as Montford Point, speaks on behalf of the Montford Point Marine Association to the competitors of the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014. The event honored the African-American Marines who were trained at Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, formerly known as Montford Point, as well as promoted camaraderie and teamwork between the competitors.
Marines stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico sprint through the course of the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014.  The biathlon consisted of running through a course approximately seven miles in length, firing service rifles from varying ranges, and racing back to the finish line.
Competitors run in honor of Montford Point Marines
Marines stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico sprint through the course of the 2nd Annual Montford Point Biathlon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014. The biathlon consisted of running through a course approximately seven miles in length, firing service rifles from varying ranges, and racing back to the finish line.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia -- A 105mm M101A1 Howitzer salute sent competitors racing on a muddy path and underbrush for the second annual Montford Point Memorial Biathalon at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 25, 2014.

Marines with The Basic School, where newly commissioned officers go to learn the art and science of leading Marines, and weapons training battalion hosted the event to build camaraderie and teach Marines about their own history.

“It’s an event we do each year built on competition, teamwork and espirit de corps while highlighting the accomplishments of the Montford Point Marines,” said Col. Todd Degrosseilliers, the commanding officer of The Basic School.

The event honored the legacy of the Montford Point Marines and the challenges they had to face until President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, ending segregation in the uniformed services.

“The challenge I faced was being a black Marine,” said Richard H. Walker, a retired gunnery sergeant and original Montford Point Marine. “Back then we couldn’t even go to Camp Lejeune unless we had a white Marine with us.”

African American Marines were trained at Montford Point, Jacksonville, North Carolina, now known as Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, until Sept 9, 1949, when the United States armed forces integrated all service members.

“There was a new breed on the block, but that’s gone now,” Walker said. “You’re just a Marine.”

Competitors ran an estimated three and a half miles from the Montford Point trail head to the battalion’s Range 4.

Upon reaching the range, the Marines fired ten rounds in both the prone and standing firing positions. For every miss, a minute was added to their time.

After firing, the competitors ran back to the Montford Point trailhead, for an approximate total of seven miles.

“I look at the biathlon as a challenge,” said Sgt. Geoffrey Artis, a cyber network operator with The Basic School. “It shows me, no matter what goes on, there is someone who went through worst and they prevailed.”

At the close of the event, awards were presented to the top three finishing teams as well as fastest time and best marksmanship score during the competition.

The Marines were in high spirits in the aftermath and had a better understanding of perseverance in the midst of great challenges like the Montford Point Marines experienced, according to Artis.

 “I think this gives the Montford Point Marines nostalgia and shows them where the Marine Corps is now and the positive effect they had on Marines,” Artis said.


IN THE NEWS
More
Bikers create Christmas magic
11/20/2017 - http://www.thenewsenterprise.com/