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Special Honors For Montford Point Marine

Arlington, Virginia. (February 9, 2024): America rendered final honors to one of the few remaining Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the Corps. In this photo by Lance Corporal Joseph E. DeMarcus, Brigadier General Melvin G. Carter presents the U.S. flag to Mable Bryant following the funeral service for her husband, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Albert Bryant at Arlington National Cemetery.

Bryant was one of over 20,000 African Americans who volunteered for the Marines at the outbreak of World War II. Up until then, the Corps refused to recruit Black people, Native Americans, or other minorities into its ranks. The recruits faced daily discrimination while training in segregated facilities between 1942 and 1949 at Montford Point, North Carolina. Black troops lived in Quonset huts “across the tracks” from Camp Lejeune and were not authorized to use on-post facilities, not even the chapel. The Montford Point Marines went on to serve with great distinction at Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of Okinawa with approximately 2,000 seeing action.

It was not until Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1941 that forced the Corps, despite objections from its leadership, to begin recruiting African American Marines.

Later, President Truman signed an executive order desegregating the military and Monford Point was closed. Today, African Americans serve at every level in the U.S. military.

Bryant began his military career at Montford Point and also served at the battle of Iwo Jima. Following his enlistment in the Marine Corps, Bryant continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserve, rising to the rank of brigadier general, the highest rank achieved by a Montford Point Marine.