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Date Signed: 2/8/2018
MARADMINS Number: 086/18

R 081642Z FEB 18
POC/M. J.SHEPPARD/CIV/UNIT: MPE/-/TEL: (703)784-9371/TEL: DSN 278-9371/TEL: COMM (703)784-9371//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1.  National African American History Month, also known as Black History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and recognition of the central role they played in the history of the United States.  Since 1976, every United States President has officially designated the month of February as National African American History/Black History Month.  This month had its origins in 1915 when historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (“ASALH”).  Through this organization Dr. Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week in February 1926.  This years theme is African "Americans in Times of War."
2.  Throughout our countrys history, African Americans have made invaluable contributions to the Armed Forces and the security of the United States.  Even in the face of prejudice and oppression, these patriotic Americans showed great resolve and continued to serve our country, support national defense, and defend equal treatment of all Americans.  African Americans valiantly served on the front lines alongside their American brethren long before the issuance of Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, which called for “equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our countrys defense” and led to full integration of the Armed Services.
3.  During the early stages of World War II, African Americans wereable to join the United States Marine Corps.  Basic Training was conducted at Montford Point, North Carolina aboard present day Camp Johnson, incidentally named for Sergeant Major Gilbert “Hashmark” Johnson, who later became Sergeant Major of the Montford Point Camp in January 1945.
4.  The first recruits reported to Montford Point on August 26, 1942 for recruit training.  Upon completion they were destined to serve with the 51st and 52nd Composite Defense Battalions.  The Marines of the 51st soon distinguished themselves as the finest artillery gunners in the Marine Corps, breaking almost every accuracy record in training.
5.  Unfortunately, discrimination towards African American fighting abilities still existed and when shipped to the Pacific, the 51st and 52nd were posted to outlying islands away from the primary action.  The only Montford Marines to see action, and record casualties, were the Ammunition and Depot Companies in Saipan, Guam, and Peleliu.  Private Kenneth Tibbs was the first black Marine to lose his life on June 15, 1944.
6.  To enrich our understanding of the history of African Americans is to broaden our knowledge of our nations history, as the two are inextricably linked.  During National African American History month, commanders are encouraged to take the time to recognize and celebrate the dedicated service and contributions of African Americans, both past and present.  Commanders are further encouraged to conduct programs and promoteparticipation in observance of events at their commands and in thelocal community.
7.  Release authorized by Brigadier General S. F. Benedict, Division Director, Manpower Plans and Policy.//