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Sgt. Major Johnny C. Washington

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Cpl. Averette Corley


Cpl. Robert D. Smith

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Amos with Montford Point Marines

From the beginnings of the United States, African-Americans served in the Army and Navy, but were denied the opportunity to serve in the Marine Corps.  In the darkest days of World War II, in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that African-Americans be allowed to serve in the Marines.  But those initial Marine recruits weren’t allowed to train at regular Marine boot camps like Camp Lejune or Camp Pendleton or Parris Island.  Instead a separate camp was opened in North Carolina – Montford Point.  There from 1942 to 1949 some 19,000 Black men were trained as Marines.  Those men broke the color barrier for the Marines.  They served with distinction in World War II.  Then at the onset of the Korean War, Black Marines were then integrated into existing Marine units and all segregated Black marine  unties were disbanded.  In 2012, the US Congress honored the Montford Point Marines, those pioneers, with the Congressional Gold Medal.  Afternoons with Amos was honored to interview two of those original Montford Point Marines who live here in Indianapolis. Sgt. Major Johnny C. Washington spent his career in the Marines serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He rose through the ranks eventually holding the highest enlisted rank of Sergeant Major at a division level.  Corporal Averette Corley served in World War II in the Pacific.  Both Marines were joined by Robert D. Smith, a Vietnam vet who attained the rank of Marine Corporal.  Smith works with the Montford Point Marines Association.  In the interview with Amos, the three, especially Corporal Corley and Sgt. Major Washington described their time as Marines breaking the barriers of bigotry and racism while fighting America’s foes as members of the best military organization in the world.  Click the Link to Learn More About Montford Point Marines.  Montford Point Marines Association Website  Click the Media Player to hear Amos’ Interview with these American Heroes – Montford Point Marines. Runs 42 Minutes. ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.

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