The story of the Montford Point Marines is a vitally important slice of American history, filled with discrimination, prejudice and injustice. As Marines, they were prohibited from fighting and from receiving any promotions. As told in Part I of this two-part post, they were segregated and considered a temporary unit. In this installment, learn what deployment was like for them and about some of the challenges they faced. There’s a reason this post is called, “We Were Expendable.” And that is the truth.
The Montford Point Marines are a little known part of U.S. military history. Born out of necessity, when African American men were first drafted to serve in World War II, the legacy of the Marines who trained at Montford Point in North Carolina is a mirror of the times, back when segregation and discrimination were par for the course.
These Marines served with valor, determined to succeed despite the obstacles brought on by the racism that they had to face each day. Of the 20,000 original Montford Point Marines, not many remain, but here in San Diego there are three, who we are honoring as Black History Month Local Heroes: Retired Gunnery Sergeant, Dr. Carrel Reavis, whose service to our country has been recognized with an honorary doctorate from Virginia University at Lynchburg; Retired First Sergeant Joe Earl Jackson; and Retired Gunnery Sergeant J.T. Inge.
In Part I of their story, they shared their memories of Montford Point, a once segregated training facility located on Camp Lejuene. The camp as it was then no longer exists, and has since been renamed. But its significance to our history continues to live on. Here, in Part II, the men continue their stories and reveal what being a Montford Point Marine has meant to them…