They are the first African American Marines ever and who were drafted during World War II. Montford Point Marines are now being honored either through individual ceremonies or group ceremonies across the country with a Congressional Gold Medal.
Retired Marine Sergeant Major Mike Benjamin was at the ceremony to watch his friend Mr. Curtis receive his medal.
Benjamin said, “When I went into the Marine Corp in 1950, persons like Curtis made it easy for guys like me who were men of color to recognize that we could be good marines.”
“This is a great moment for my life today,” Curtis told the family and friends who’d gathered to watch him receive his medal.
The ceremony was the result of the efforts of Calvin Curtis’ son, Todd Curtis, to ensure that his father was honored, after learning that other Montford Point Marines had been honored at a ceremony in Washington.
“The level of segregation and discrimination that we have heard about from Tuskegee Airmen or other people in the military was probably a level higher in the Marine Corp because of their traditions,” explained Dr. Todd Curtis.