Robert C. Motley, a Montford Point Marine was recently honored with a ceremony that included presenting him with the Congressional Gold Medal. The event was held at Parkville, Mo VFW Post 7356 on August 18, 2012.
The Montford Point Marines often are honored as important figures and role models in American history because they willingly fought to protect a nation that did not offer them basic civil rights. African-American men were willing to give their lives for their country at a time when they still were subjected to lynching and racism in their communities, without the protection of our government.
The battle that took place from 1939 to 1945 for world freedom has been referred to as America’s war. But while American troops fought the horror of World War II, the Montford Point Marines fought a second battle—one for equal treatment.
Like the Army, Air Force and Navy, today’s Marine Corps is fully integrated, but for generations the Marines did not admit African-Americans. The racial integration of the American military was a lengthy process that started in 1941. The Marine Corps today contains many successful African-American members and leaders, who trace their lineage to the group known as the “Montford Pointers.”
The early days of WW II were difficult and demanding on the U.S. military, but it was impossible for African-Americans to join the Marine Corps. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune understood these problems and worked together for racial justice and gender equality. Read more at WORLD WAR II Montford Point Marines: Honoring And Preserving Their Legacy
There were many of the Department of Mo Officers present for the ceremony not limited to but including. VFW Dept of Mo Commander Phil Pippins, VFW Dept of Mo Ladies Auxiliary President Rebecca Strauss, VFW Dept of Mo Sr-Vice Commander Lyle Seelinger, and VFW Dept of Mo Surgeon Chris Bell.
Montford Point Marine and Life Member of Parkville, Mo VFW Post 7356 Robert C. Motley was escorted by 7 young Marines currently in service at Ft. Leavenworth Command College in KS.
Montford Point Marine Robert C. Motley and VFW Dept of Mo CDR Phil Pippins.
Montford Point Marine Robert C. Motley and VFW Dept of Mo CDR Phil Pippins
Unidentified Marine Escort, Montford Point Marine Robert C. Motley and VFW Dept of Mo CDR Phil Pippins.
VFW Dept of Mo Commander Phil Pillins, VFW Dept of Mo Ladies Auxiliary President Rebecca Strauss, Montford Point Marine Robert C. Motley, VFW Post 7356 Ladies Auxiliary President Sharon Bugg and VFW Post 7356 Commander John Bugg.
VFW Dept of Mo Surgeon Chris Bell, VFW Dept of Mo Sr-Vice Commander Lyle Seelinger, VFW Dept of Mo District 3 Chaplain T. J. Hainkel & VFW Dept of Mo Commander Phil Pippins.
In 1942, President Roosevelt established a presidential directive giving African Americans an opportunity to be recruited into the Marine Corps. These African Americans, from all states, were not sent to the traditional boot camps of Parris Island, South Carolina and San Diego, California. Instead, African American Marines were segregated – experiencing basic training at Montford Point – a facility at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Approximately twenty thousand (20,000) African American Marines received basic training at Montford Point between 1942 and 1949. Read more at the website for Montford Point Marines.
There are a lot more photos and story at the website of Parkville, Mo VFW Post 7356.
Photos and parts of the story are provided courtesy of VFW Post 7356 Commander John Bugg, VFW Post 7356 Sr-Vice CDR John Hoffman and VFW Dept of Mo Ladies Auxiliary President Rebecca Strauss.