August 28, 2014 --
A Montford Point Marine was honored posthumously when his widow received the Congressional Gold Medal Friday at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
Pfc. James Windom, one of the original Montford Point Marines, served as an infantry rifleman during World War II in the Marine Corps. His military career began in 1943 and ended in 1949.
The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to Windom for the contributions he made.
The award is the highest expression of national appreciation by Congress for distinguished achievements and contributions, according to the National Montford Point Marine Association website, www.montfordpointmarines.com.
Windom’s contributions, in part, were said to be his dedication, perseverance and courage on and off the battlefield, which inspired social change in the Marine Corps.
“Montford Point Marines paved the way for integrated service and our Corps and our ranks are stronger today for their contributions and sacrifices,” Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, said.
Davis presented Windom’s medal to his widow, Carletha Windom, as family members and guests looked on.
Montford Point Marines are widely known as ordinary men who faced extraordinary challenges and overcame them to earn the title, Marine.
They are said to have pioneered the way for Marines of all races to be able to enjoy success in the Marine Corps.
They have left a legacy of dedication, determination, motivation and dignity.
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on Nov. 23, 2011, to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines, which was followed by a ceremony held in Washington D.C.
Unfortunately, health concerns prevented Windom from attending. Since that time, he has passed away.
Pfc. Windom was married to his wife for 62 years and has nine children. Three of his children followed in his footsteps by serving in the armed forces.
During the ceremony, his son, Carl Windom, spoke of his father.
“Now the world knows what your family has always known,” he said. “Even though you faced great odds and disparities, you fought for your right to fight and selflessly served your country.”