News: Montford Point Marines Association shares story with MCAS New River
Story by Cpl. Mary Carmona
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - Veterans from the Montford Point Marines Association shared the poignant history of the Montford Point Marines with Marines aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River at the air station theater, Feb. 13.
Retired Col. Grover Lewis, retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Houston Shinal and Ms. Louise Greggs each shared rich details of how the original Montford Point Marines left their footnote on history and created a future for Marines today.
“Their experience has taught us that through perseverance, hard work and sometimes turning the other cheek, you can make a mark,” said Lewis, who served in the Marine Corps for 30 years and was the first African American to be a commanding officer of a Marine Corps installation.
Lewis, the main speaker for the event, elaborated on how the Montford Point Marines’ example applied to Marines today and how those Marines exemplified the Marine Corps values of honor, courage and commitment.
“They came from all over the country to serve a country that didn’t want them to serve,” Lewis said. “Were they men of honor? I would say they were. Were they men of courage? I would say so.”
From 1942-1949, nearly 20,000 African Americans attended Marine Corps recruit training at Camp Johnson to earn the title of a Montford Point Marine.
“Because of their commitment I was able to serve 30 years in the Marine Corps,” Lewis said. “Because of them, you are able to serve in the Marine Corps.”
The Montford Point Marines not only stand out in American history for being the first African-American Marines, but also in Marine Corps history, for being outstanding leaders and patriots.
“The sacrifices of these men paved the way for females and other minorities to be integrated into the Marine Corps by creating social and cultural changes which have left a lasting impact and contributed to the success of our Marine Corps,” said 1st Lt. Sarah Burns, air station public affairs officer and the event coordinator.
Marines today can honor the memory of the Montford Point Marines by remembering that they are a current reflection of the character and humility displayed by those who came before them.
“It isn’t about you,” Lewis said. “It’s about who you represent.”