JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A ceremony aboard Camp Johnson honored Montford Point Marines. Congress awarded over 400 veterans the congressional gold medal this week.
Master Sgt. Turner Blount was one of the first African-Americans to be admitted to the United States Marine Corps. Nearly seven decades and four generations later, Blount is receiving a long-awaited recognition.
"Gentleman, thank-you, from the bottom of my heart, for changing history of the United States of America," said Lt. Col. Tim Seamon.
Blount and hundreds of other Montford Point Marines received the nation's highest civilian honor; the congressional gold medal.
"Something like this, makes people appreciate what we had to do, and that's what makes me feel good," said Blount.
20,000 African-American men completed basic training at Montford Point, a segregated camp, and then deployed overseas to serve our country.
"There's no such thing as you know, 'I'm tired' when you're sleeping in the holes. In bushes, trying to protect yourself and your men. That's nothing to play with,” said Blount.
The Montford Point Marine Association is raising money to create a memorial for the veterans.