U.S. Marine Corps photo by SSgt Tracie Kessler/Released 120824-M-YM527-007.JPG
Aug 28, 2012
ORANGE CITY, Florida (August 25, 2012)—“The Marine Corps builds character,” said Mr. Robert Blanks, an Original Montford Point Marine. Blanks received the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony held at his residence. Blanks, 85, who enlisted into the Marine Corps during World War II from Bronx, N.Y., welcomed the award in recognition of his service to the nation at a time when racial discrimination was normal and the military services were just beginning to desegregate. Between 1942 and 1949, there were 19, 168 African American recruits at Montford Point, N.C., near Camp Lejeune. Of those Marines, over 13,000 served overseas during the war. Most were assigned to ammunition and depot companies bringing ammunition and supplies to the front lines and transporting wounded and dead Marines back to the beaches. The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor given by congress for distinguished achievement. The President of the United States signed into law the legislation to award the medal to the Montford Point Marines on November 23, 2011. (Official USMC photo by Staff Sgt. Tracie G. Kessler)(Released).
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