CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL TO THE MONTFORD POINT MARINES
(House of Representatives - October 25, 2011)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

        

[Pages H7024-H7030]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




         CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL TO THE MONTFORD POINT MARINES

  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 2447) to grant the congressional gold medal to the Montford Point 
Marines.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 2447

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

       Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) On June 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
     issued Executive Order No. 8802 establishing the Fair 
     Employment Practices Commission and opening the doors for the 
     very first African-Americans to enlist in the United States 
     Marine Corps.
       (2) The first Black Marine recruits were trained at Camp 
     Montford Point, near the New River in Jacksonville, North 
     Carolina.
       (3) On August 26, 1942, Howard P. Perry of Charlotte, North 
     Carolina, was the first Black private to set foot on Montford 
     Point.
       (4) During April 1943 the first African-American Marine 
     Drill Instructors took over as the senior Drill Instructors 
     of the eight platoons then in training; the 16th Platoon 
     (Edgar R. Huff), 17th (Thomas Brokaw), 18th (Charles E. 
     Allen), 19th (Gilbert H. Johnson), 20th (Arnold R. Bostic), 
     21st (Mortimer A. Cox), 22nd (Edgar R. Davis, Jr.), and 23rd 
     (George A. Jackson).
       (5) Black Marines of the 8th Ammunition Company and the 
     36th Depot Company landed on the island of Iwo Jima on D-Day, 
     February 19, 1945.
       (6) The largest number of Black Marines to serve in combat 
     during World War II took part in the seizure of Okinawa in 
     the Ryuku Islands with some 2,000 Black Marines seeing action 
     during the campaign.
       (7) On November 10, 1945, the first African-American 
     Marine, Frederick C. Branch, was commissioned as a second 
     lieutenant at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.
       (8) Overall 19,168 Blacks served in the Marine Corps in 
     World War II.
       (9) An enterprising group of men, including original 
     Montford Pointer Master Sergeant Brooks E. Gray, planned a 
     reunion of the Men of Montford Point, and on September 15, 
     1965, approximately 400 Montford Point Marines gathered at 
     the Adelphi Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to lay the 
     foundation for the Montford Point Marine Association Inc., 16 
     years after the closure of Montford Point as a training 
     facility for Black recruits.
       (10) Organized as a non-military, nonprofit entity, the 
     Montford Point Marine Association's main mission is to 
     preserve the legacy of the first Black Marines.
       (11) Today the Montford Point Marine Association has 36 
     chapters throughout the United States.
       (12) Many of these first Black Marines stayed in the Marine 
     Corps like Sergeant Major Edgar R. Huff.
       (13) Sergeant Major Huff was one of the very first recruits 
     aboard Montford Point.
       (14) Sergeant Major Huff was also the first African-
     American Sergeant Major and the first African-American Marine 
     to retire with 30 years of service which included combat in 
     three major wars, World War II, the Korean War, and the 
     Vietnam War.
       (15) During the Tet Offensive, Sergeant Major Huff was 
     awarded the Bronze Star Medal with combat ``V'' for valor for 
     saving the life of his radio operator.
       (16) Another original Montford Pointer who saw extensive 
     combat action in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War was 
     Sergeant Major Louis Roundtree.
       (17) Sergeant Major Roundtree was awarded the Silver Star 
     Medal, four Bronze Star Medals, three Purple Hearts, and 
     numerous other personal and unit awards for his service 
     during these conflicts.
       (18) On April 19, 1974, Montford Point was renamed Camp 
     Johnson after legendary Montford Pointer Sergeant Major 
     Gilbert ``Hashmark'' Johnson.
       (19) The Montford Point Marine Association has several 
     memorials in place to perpetuate the memory of the first 
     African-American Marines and their accomplishments, 
     including--
       (A) the Montford Point Marine Association Edgar R. Huff 
     Memorial Scholarship which is offered annually through the 
     Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation;
       (B) the Montford Point Museum located aboard Camp Johnson 
     (Montford Point) in Jacksonville, North Carolina;
       (C) the Brooks Elbert Gray, Jr. Consolidated Academic 
     Instruction Facility named in honor of original Montford 
     Pointer and the Montford Point Marine Corps Association 
     founder Master Gunnery Sergeant Gray. This facility was 
     dedicated on 15 April 2005 aboard Camp Johnson, North 
     Carolina; and
       (D) during July of 1997 Branch Hall, a building within the 
     Officers Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, was named in 
     honor of Captain Frederick Branch.

     SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.

       (a) Award Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of 
     Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate 
     shall make appropriate arrangements for the award, on behalf 
     of the Congress, of a single gold medal of appropriate design 
     in honor of the Montford Point Marines, collectively, in 
     recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their 
     country.
       (b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award 
     referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury 
     (hereafter in this Act referred to as the ``Secretary'') 
     shall strike the gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, 
     and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.

     SEC. 3. DUPLICATE MEDALS.

       Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, the 
     Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the 
     gold medal struck under section 2, at a price sufficient to 
     cover the costs of the medals, including labor, materials, 
     dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses.

     SEC. 4. NATIONAL MEDALS.

       Medals struck pursuant to this Act are National medals for 
     purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

     SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS; PROCEEDS OF SALE.

       (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
     to be charged against the United States Mint Public 
     Enterprise Fund, an amount not to exceed $30,000 to pay for 
     the cost of the medals authorized under section 2.
       (b) Proceeds of Sale.--Amounts received from the sale of 
     duplicate bronze medals under section 3 shall be deposited in 
     the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
North Carolina (Mr. Jones) and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Clay) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina.


                             General Leave

  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
to add extraneous material on this bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from North Carolina?

[[Page H7025]]

  There was no objection.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  This is very important legislation. I want to thank the gentlelady 
from Florida, Congresswoman Corrine Brown, for bringing this forward.
  I want to say that the chairman of the Financial Services Committee 
and the ranking member, Mr. Frank, saw the importance of this 
legislation and wanted to bring it to the floor as quickly as possible. 
Mr. Bachus, who is chairman of the committee, has a son, Warren, who is 
now in the United States Marine Corps.
  Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege to serve the Camp Lejeune Marine 
Base, which is in the Third District of North Carolina. In 1994, as a 
candidate for this office, I heard about the very special marines who 
trained at Montford Point, which is on the base at Camp Lejeune. I did 
not know the history at that time, but as we all know, during that 
period of time, we had segregation in this country, which was wrong. 
President Franklin Roosevelt made a decision and issued a directive 
that the Marine Corps would accept these fine Americans who wanted to 
be marines, so therefore they were segregated, but they were marines 
who gave their very best for our country.

                                                 October 24, 2011.
     Hon. Spencer Bachus,
     Chairman, Committee on Financial Services, Rayburn House 
         Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bachus: I am writing concerning H.R. 2447, to 
     grant the congressional gold medal to the Montford Point 
     Marines, which is scheduled for Floor action on Tuesday, 
     October 25, 2011.
       As you know, the Committee on Ways and Means maintains 
     jurisdiction over matters that concern raising revenue. H.R. 
     2447 contains a provision that provides for the sale of 
     duplicate medals, and thus falls within the jurisdiction of 
     the Committee on Ways and Means.
       However, as part of our ongoing understanding regarding 
     commemorative coin and medal bills and in order to expedite 
     this bill for floor consideration, the Committee will forgo 
     action. This is being done with the understanding that it 
     does not in any way prejudice the Committee with respect to 
     the appointment of conferees or its jurisdictional 
     prerogatives on this or similar legislation in the future.
       I would appreciate your response to this letter, confirming 
     this understanding with respect to H.R. 2447, and would ask 
     that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be 
     included in the Congressional Record during Floor 
     consideration.
           Sincerely,
                                                        Dave Camp,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

                                                 October 24, 2011.
     Hon. Dave Camp,
     Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means, United States House of 
         Representatives, Longworth House Office Building, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Camp: I am writing in response to your letter 
     regarding H.R. 2447, a bill to grant the Congressional gold 
     medal to the Montford Point Marines, which is scheduled for 
     Floor consideration under suspension of the rules on October 
     25, 2011.
       I wish to confirm our mutual understanding on this bill. As 
     you know, the bill contains provisions governing the proceeds 
     of the sale of the bronze medals, which concern raising 
     revenue and accordingly fall under the jurisdiction of the 
     Committee on Ways and Means. Further, I appreciate your 
     willingness to forego action by the Committee on Ways and 
     Means on H.R. 2447 in order to allow the bill to come to the 
     Floor expeditiously. I agree that your decision to forego 
     further action on this bill will not prejudice the Committee 
     on Ways and Means with respect to its jurisdictional 
     prerogatives on this or similar legislation. Therefore, I 
     would support your request for conferees on those provisions 
     within your jurisdiction should this bill be the subject of a 
     House-Senate conference.
       I will include this exchange of letters in the 
     Congressional Record when this bill is considered by the 
     House. Thank you again for your assistance and if you should 
     need anything further, please do not hesitate to contact 
     Natalie McGarry of my staff at 202-225-7502.
           Sincerely,
                                                   Spencer Bachus,
                                                         Chairman.

  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CLAY. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to 
pass this bill honoring the first black marines. I am a proud 
cosponsor, along with 305 of my colleagues, of H.R. 2447, ``to grant 
the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines.''
  In 1941, President Roosevelt issued a Presidential directive giving 
African Americans an opportunity to serve in the Marine Corps. These 
recruits, from all States, were not sent to Parris Island or San Diego. 
Instead, African American marines were segregated. They received 
recruit training at Montford Point, a facility on board Camp Lejeune, 
North Carolina.
  Approximately 20,000 African American marines received basic training 
at Montford Point during World War II, and 75 percent served overseas. 
The initial intent of the Corps was to discharge these marines after 
the war and return them to civilian life. This would have left the 
Corps an all-white service. As World War II progressed, attitudes 
changed and reality took hold. Once given the chance to prove 
themselves, it became impossible to deny that these marines were just 
as capable as any other marine regardless of race, color, creed or 
national origin.
  According to General James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine 
Corps:
  ``Montford Point Marines served with distinction in three of the 
bloodiest battles in the Pacific--Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The 
Montford Point Marines fought with such tenacity, valor and distinction 
that the commandant at the time was moved to declare, `The Negro 
marines are no longer on trial. They are marines--period.' Their 
actions reflected the finest attributes of the `leatherneck' fighting 
spirit and blazed the trail for generations of African Americans in the 
Marine Corps.''
  The special recognition that Congress has already afforded the first 
African American servicemen of the Navy, Army and Air Force is long 
overdue the Montford Point Marines. The distinguished record of these 
African Americans advanced the cause of civil rights and contributed to 
President Truman's decision to order the desegregation of the Armed 
Forces in 1948.
  Mr. Speaker, the Montford Point Marines' service and sacrifice 
reflect great credit upon themselves and uphold the highest traditions 
of the Marine Corps, so I urge all of my colleagues to honor the 
Montford Point Marines by voting for this bill.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. JONES. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, in addition to what Mr. Clay was saying, I want the 
House to know that the Montford Point Marines are revered by the 
citizens of Jacksonville and Camp Lejeune. Their history speaks for 
itself. They gave their blood and their lives in the South Pacific with 
their fellow marines as they fought for this country during World War 
II.
  Again, I think that Congresswoman Brown deserves so much credit in 
bringing this forward, as does the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
for seeing the value of creating this opportunity for Americans.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1250

  Mr. CLAY. I yield 5 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from 
Florida and the original sponsor of this legislation, Ms. Brown.
  Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, as I begin my remarks, I would 
like to acknowledge that many of the Montford Point Marines are here 
visiting us today in the Capitol. This is a picture of the Montford 
Point Marines.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today on this great day for the Montford Point 
Marines. Today the House of Representatives will pass a resolution 
giving these marines their long-overdue recognition. I am pleased to 
join with so many of my colleagues, now 308, to support a resolution to 
grant the Montford Point Marines a Congressional Gold Medal, the 
highest civilian honor that can be bestowed for an outstanding deed or 
act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of 
the United States.
  Since 1775, the United States Marine Corps has served our country in 
peace and war. Today the Marine Corps still serves the Nation as a 
force in readiness, prepared to serve whenever the Nation calls. It is 
befitting that as we celebrate on November 10 the 236th birthday of the 
Marine Corps, that we highlight and honor the Montford Point Marines.
  On June 25, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued 
executive order 8802, opening the doors for the very first African 
Americans to enlist

[[Page H7026]]

in the United States Marines. From 1942 to 1949, 20,000 African 
Americans enlisted in the Marine Corps in a time of war when the 
military services were resistant to integration.
  These African Americans, from all States, were not sent to the 
traditional boot camps in Parris Island, South Carolina and San Diego, 
California. Instead, African American Marines were segregated, 
experiencing basic training at Camp Montford Point near the New River 
in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
  Years before Jackie Robinson and decades before Rosa Parks and Martin 
Luther King, Jr., these heroes joined the Marines to defend their 
country and do their job.
  One specific marine is worth singling out. Gilbert ``Hashmark'' 
Johnson was one of the first African American marine drill instructors 
at Montford Point in 1943. He exemplified the work ethic and toughness 
that it took to be a Montford Point Marine.
  Born in rural Alabama, Johnson attended Stillman College in 1922, but 
enlisted in the Army after 1 year at school. After 6 years in the Army, 
he tried civilian life for 4 years but enlisted in the Navy in 1933. 
When he heard about executive order 8802, he immediately requested 
transfer from the Navy to the Marines.
  When this occurred, his nickname of Hashmark was secured, having more 
service stripes than rank stripes. After service as sergeant major at 
Montford Point, Hashmark went on to serve as sergeant major of the 52nd 
Defense Battalion in Guam. While serving in Guam with the battalion 
during World War II, he found black marines were being assigned to 
labor details rather than combat patrols, from which they were 
currently exempt. Once he got the commanding officer to reverse this 
decision, he personally led 25 separate excursions into the jungle.
  Hashmark went on to serve in Korea and eventually retired in 1959 
with 32 years of service, 17 with the Marines. After his death in 1972, 
the Marine Corps paid tribute to this great warrior and leader by 
naming the camp in his honor, Camp Gilbert H. Johnson. In July of 1948, 
President Harry S. Truman issued executive order 9981 ending 
segregation in the military; and in September of 1949, Montford Point 
Marine Camp was deactivated, ending 7 years of segregation.
  General James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, has stated it 
is the responsibility of the Marine Corps and this Congress to honor 
these men who suffered through racism and segregation here in this 
country. I am honored to offer this resolution to recognize their 
service and sacrifice and acknowledge today the United States Marine 
Corps is an excellent opportunity for advancement for all races due to 
the service and example of these original Montford Point Marines.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. CLAY. I yield the gentlewoman 1 additional minute.
  Ms. BROWN of Florida. I want to thank the many Members who helped to 
bring this resolution to the floor. Financial Services Chairman Spencer 
Bachus, whose son serves in the Marines, was especially helpful, and 
Sanford Bishop, Ander Crenshaw and Allen West, so many Members, over 
308 sponsors and the leadership of both parties. This is an example of 
what we can do when we work together. I am just very excited about what 
we are doing here today.
  I want to end by saying--and I'm not very good at this--oohrah, 
honoring these men of Montford Point.
  This is, like I said, a great day and a wonderful bipartisan example 
of what we can do when we work together.

                                                    April 5, 2011.
     Hon. Corrine Brown,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Congresswoman Brown: On behalf of the Marine Corps, I 
     respectfully request your support of legislation to award the 
     Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines for 
     their service during World War II.
       At a time when the Services were resistant to integration, 
     approximately 20,000 African-Americans enlisted in the Marine 
     Corps, choosing to put their lives on the line in order to be 
     accepted and recognized as fully fledged citizens by this 
     great Nation. Subsequent to undergoing segregated basic 
     training at Montford Point Camp, North Carolina, many of 
     these Marines fought and died for their Country in the 
     Pacific during World War II. Montford Point Marines served 
     with distinction in three of the bloodiest battles in the 
     Pacific--Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The Montford Point 
     Marines fought with such tenacity, valor, and distinction 
     that the Commandant at the time was moved to declare, ``The 
     Negro Marines are no longer on trial. They are Marines, 
     period'' Their actions reflected the finest attributes of the 
     ``leatherneck'' fighting spirit and blazed the trail for 
     generations of African-Americans in the Marine Corps.
       We believe the service, sacrifice and patriotism of the 
     Montford Point Marines is due the same special recognition 
     that Congress has already afforded the first African-American 
     servicemen of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Like them, the 
     Montford Point Marines enlisted in the military and defended 
     a society that enjoyed freedoms they did not share. The 
     combat service of these Americans advanced the cause of civil 
     rights and contributed, in large measure, to President 
     Truman's decision to order the desegregation of the Armed 
     Forces in 1948.
       Given their meritorious service and patriotism in a society 
     that was slow to accept their value, the time is now to award 
     the Congressional Gold Medal.
           Very Respectfully,

                                                James F. Amos,

                                       General, U.S. Marine Corps,
                                   Commandant of the Marine Corps.


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair will remind all persons in the 
gallery that they are here as guests of the House and that any 
manifestation of approval or disapproval of proceedings is in violation 
of the rules of the House.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
Mexico (Mr. Pearce).
  Mr. PEARCE. I am pleased to rise in support of H.R. 2447, introduced 
by the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Brown), which would right a wrong 
of the segregation era by awarding Congressional Gold Medals 
collectively to the so-called Montford Point Marines, our country's 
first black marine unit.
  Earlier this month, the country honored the Reverend Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr., for his leadership in the civil rights movement.
  In their own way, these African American men, 20,000 of whom trained 
in a segregated boot camp in North Carolina, fought for civil rights 
and equality even as they fought for peace and freedom in World War II. 
It was unfair for them to have to wage the first battle while waging 
the second to defend us all.
  While it is interesting that these brave men were not even the first 
African American marines, at least a dozen served with honor, fighting 
alongside white marines during the Revolutionary War.
  One, John Martin, a slave, was reportedly recruited without the 
knowledge or permission of his slave owner. But after the war ended, 
both the Marines and the Navy were disbanded. And when the Marines were 
reformed in 1798, the right to fight for their country in the Marines 
was taken from black Americans. Service by blacks was barred, 
supposedly based on British naval tradition.
  Nearly 200,000 black Americans fought in the Union Army in the Civil 
War, and black soldiers served in the Army during the Spanish-American 
War and World War I, but the Navy at the time had a policy of not using 
blacks in combat roles, although plenty served in support roles.
  In recognition of the heroism of the men who took their boot camp at 
Montford Point, we should immediately pass this legislation. Marine 
Commandant General James F. Amos has worked tirelessly urging Congress 
to recognize the Montford Point Marines with a Congressional Gold 
Medal, as it did a half decade ago in recognizing similar trail-blazing 
World War II military service by the Tuskegee Airmen and the Nisei 
soldiers.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill has more than 300 cosponsors, of which I am 
one. The staggering number represents a fitting recognition of the 
bill's importance, and I urge its passage.

                              {time}  1300

  Mr. CLAY. Mr. Speaker, I want to first thank my friend from New 
Mexico for his comments on the historic service of African Americans 
throughout our history.
  At this time I would like to yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Miller).
  Mr. MILLER of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, we have honored the Army's 
Buffalo Soldiers and the Army's Tuskegee Airmen. It's time to give the 
Montford Point Marines the honor that is their due.

[[Page H7027]]

  The Montford Point Marines fought an enemy abroad and injustice at 
home. They served with great valor and distinction and loved their 
country more than their country loved them at the time. President 
Roosevelt ordered in 1941 that the Marine Corps be opened to African 
Americans, but the Marines considered themselves the most elite branch 
of our military and the most traditional, and many resented Roosevelt's 
order that African Americans be accepted.
  The first African American marines were hardly welcomed with open 
arms. Their segregated unit was stationed at Montford Point, North 
Carolina. They were near Camp Lejeune, but the Montford Point Marines 
could not enter Camp Lejeune except in the company of a white officer. 
They were passed over for years for promotions that white marines 
achieved in weeks. When they trained with white marines, which was 
rare, they waited until white marines had eaten before they went 
through the chow lines.
  The Montford Point Marines were sent to the Pacific theater to serve 
behind the lines, not in combat for which they were presumed to be 
unsuited. No one told the Japanese. The Montford Point Marines served 
in Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, three of the bloodiest battles in the 
Pacific. They came under intense fire and showed great courage, winning 
the praise of skeptical white officers.
  President Truman fully integrated the Armed Forces in 1948, and 
African American marines served side by side with white marines in 
Korea and in every conflict since then. The distinguished service of 
the Montford Point Marines largely made that possible.
  General Amos, the commandant of the Marines, said he wants every 
marine, from private to general, to know the history of the marines who 
fought an enemy overseas, and racism and segregation in their own 
country.
  I want every marine and every American to know that history. Semper 
Fi.
  Mr. JONES. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CLAY. Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to yield 1 minute to 
the distinguished gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan).
  Mr. RYAN of Ohio. I thank the gentleman, and I'd like to thank the 
gentlelady from Florida for making this recognition and the gentleman 
from North Carolina for all of his leadership in the House on this 
issue and a variety of others; and I just rise here to say that I want 
to be in support of not only this resolution but the eventual awarding 
of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines.
  I think this is a great example of how we in America, sometimes it 
takes us too long, but we try to rectify these problems. I hope that 
this is an opportunity for us to recognize discrimination when it's 
happening anywhere else in the military or across our country, that we 
shouldn't have to wait to honor these marines 70 years later because of 
their commitment that they made. They were dedicated to this country. 
They fought racism. They fought segregation. They fought humiliation, 
all to try to serve this great country. I think they really embody what 
the Marines stand for, the honor, the courage, and the commitment that 
is exactly what it takes to be a marine. So let us learn this lesson 
and also honor these gentlemen here today.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CLAY. At this time I would like to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Maloney).
  Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking my colleague 
and very good friend, Corrine Brown, for her leadership on this, and 
also Chairman Walter Jones and Ranking Member Clay. I am a proud 
cosponsor, and I rise in strong support of this bill, and I am thrilled 
that the Montford Point Marines are with us in the gallery.
  In 1941, President Roosevelt issued an executive order which opened 
the door for the first African Americans to enlist in the United States 
Marine Corps. Totaling approximately 20,000, these brave men faced 
segregated training at Montford Point, North Carolina, while white 
recruits were trained at Parris Island in South Carolina.
  Among these distinguished marines was someone who later in life would 
become an outstanding mayor of the city of New York, my friend and now 
constituent, David Dinkins. David Dinkins, Mayor Dinkins, enlisted in 
the Marines in 1945 immediately after graduating from high school and 
served until the end of the war. He told me this story today about how 
thrilled he was about this gold medal. He said one day he went out and 
the drill sergeant announced: Everybody, get on your knees. Thank the 
Lord, the war is over. Now get up, nothing has changed.
  Mayor Dinkins and the rest of the men in the Montford Point Marines 
served with distinction, regardless of the prejudice and segregation 
they faced, fighting in the Pacific arena during the Second World War 
in three of the bloodiest battles--Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. They 
fought with bravery and valor, overcoming the resistance to integration 
within the services at that time and eventually earned high praise from 
the Marine Corps commandant.
  The legacy of their service has endured beyond the battlefields of 
the Second World War, as they opened the door for generations of 
African Americans in the Marine Corps. These brave men advanced the 
cause of civil rights while simultaneously protecting the freedoms of 
our country. And for that we owe them a heartfelt deep thanks.
  Congress has already recognized the first African American 
servicemembers of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; and this bill to award 
the same honor to the Montford Point Marines is well deserved, and I am 
so proud to be a cosponsor and to be supporting it.


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded that the rules of the 
House prohibit the introduction of occupants of the gallery.
  Mr. JONES. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CLAY. Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to yield 2 minutes 
to the distinguished gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis).
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. I want to thank the gentleman from Missouri 
for yielding me this time.
  I also want to commend and congratulate Representative Corrine Brown 
for her introduction of this legislation and for the tremendous work 
that she did to get it to the floor this soon today, and I commend you 
for that.
  I have an uncle who was at Okinawa, and of course he talked a great 
deal about his experiences. But I also remember being a young boy 
during Korea, and two or three of our older guys went and joined the 
Marines, and how proud they were to come home wearing their dress 
uniforms. All of the younger people were running kind of behind them, 
looking at them when they would come to church or dress up. I have a 
large Montford Point Marine Association in my congressional district 
that I visit quite frequently, especially Veterans Day and other times 
such as Memorial Day when we pay tribute to veterans.
  So I simply come to say thanks to all of them who have helped to make 
America what it is and have helped to keep our country strong. I urge 
passage.
  Mr. JONES. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CLAY. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to first thank my good friend 
from North Carolina, Mr. Jones, for his leadership on this issue. I 
know that he represents Camp Lejeune, and he has certainly been a 
friend to the Marine Corps; and we are all indebted to him for that.
  Mr. Speaker, the bill calls for the Treasury Secretary to strike a 
single gold medal of appropriate design in honor of the Montford Point 
Marines collectively in recognition of their personal sacrifice and 
service to their country.
  The bill authorizes the Speaker of the House and the President Pro 
Tempore of the Senate to make arrangements for the award of the medal 
on behalf of the Congress and authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury 
to strike and sell duplicates in bronze at a price sufficient to cover 
overhead expenses. To me, this is the least we can do for a group of 
men who served a grateful Nation so well.

                              {time}  1310

  During April of 1943, the first African American Marine drill 
instructors took over as the senior drill instructors of

[[Page H7028]]

the eight platoons then in training. The 16th Platoon was headed by 
Edgar R. Huff; the 17th Platoon was headed by Thomas Brokaw; the 18th 
Platoon was headed by Charles E. Allen; and the 19th Platoon was headed 
by Gilbert H. Johnson, who was mentioned earlier.
  Mr. Speaker, how much time is remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Missouri has 1 minute 
remaining, and the gentleman from North Carolina has 15\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. JONES. I would advise my colleague that I have no further 
requests for time and will close on our side.
  Mr. CLAY. At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield 1 minute 
to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi).
  Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I am pleased to join my colleague, Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who's 
been relentless in calling for this day. And to our colleague from 
Missouri (Mr. Clay), thank you for your leadership on all of this as 
well; and to our colleagues on the other side, the ranking member on 
the Banking Committee, and Mr. Pearce as well, who spoke about this.
  We have come together in a bipartisan way for a very patriotic 
occasion for our country. What a thrill it will be when we can tell our 
constituents we were there to vote for this important resolution which 
will, as we all know, call for directing the Treasury Secretary to 
strike a single gold medal of appropriate design in honor of the 
Montford Point Marines. How exciting.
  I know that many of those marines or their families are here on 
Capitol Hill today. We look forward to welcoming them to a ceremony 
where these medals will be bestowed. I only wish that all of the 
marines who served and were willing to sacrifice their lives for our 
country could be here--all of them the subject of the respect and honor 
that we pay. This is just another example of some of the inequality 
that existed in our country earlier on, and it's long overdue for us to 
redress some of that.
  We've had occasion in the rotunda over the last few years to 
recognize the work of President Truman when he called for the 
desegregation of the military. Colin Powell--General, Secretary, 
National Security Adviser; he has many titles--was here with us that 
day. We've had occasion to honor our Tuskegee Airmen on another 
occasion. So it is long overdue to, again, take this step to recognize 
the important work that all Americans played in their most important 
responsibility--to protect and defend.
  I will say this to all of the marines who approached me about this 
legislation outside the Congress. Every time they did, I said that 
Corrine Brown and Lacy Clay have already gotten to us. Corrine was 
absolutely relentless on this, and we're all here because of her 
leadership and the work of the members of our Congressional Black 
Caucus and the bipartisan support that we have. Of course, we wouldn't 
be on the floor without the leadership of our Speaker, who enabled this 
bill to come to the floor.
  It's a proud day for the Congress. We look forward to an even prouder 
day when these medals will be bestowed.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman from Missouri has 
expired.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, at this time I would yield 2 minutes to the 
gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee.
  (Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I want to thank the gentleman from North 
Carolina and the gentleman from Missouri for their courtesies.
  This is an emotional time for all of us. As we pay tribute to the 
Montford Point Marines, we must pay tribute to Congresswoman Corrine 
Brown. We thank you, first of all, for restoring our faith in this 
country and showing us that we can work together as Members of 
Congress.
  To be able to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal on the Montford 
Point Marines is something that we would want to be the first 
legislation of this week. It awards the gold medal to the first African 
American marines at Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North 
Carolina. Then, of course, it acknowledges their personal sacrifice and 
their service to the country.
  My father-in-law was a Tuskegee Airman. It took so long to be able to 
honor them. And as we begin to build this country on a more solid 
ground, it is important to acknowledge the first African American to 
receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, Sergeant William Harvey 
Carney. He received it during the Civil War. Then, of course, at its 
inception, the Marine Corps refused to recruit African Americans from 
1775 until 1942. But immediately after the racial restrictions were 
lifted, nearly 20,000 African Americans signed up to become marines and 
began their basic training at the segregated Camp Montford Point during 
World War II until 1949. Yet they were still faced with segregation and 
racism.
  We all know that the Marines are the first in; and as the Marines are 
the first in, then others follow. They're well known for taking the 
bullet first, in many instances, as they work with other members of the 
United States military.
  So today it is more than appropriate, Mr. Speaker, to be able to 
honor these fine heroic individuals. I salute them. I thank God that we 
have the opportunity to honor them at this time. It is great that 
America can unite together and go forward under a unity of 
understanding the dignity of all people.
  Thank you, Montford Point Marines. It is an honor to support the 
Congressional Gold Medal being awarded to them.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2447, ``To Grant the 
Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines,'' which awards 
the Congressional Gold Medal to the first African American Marines at 
Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in recognition of 
their personal sacrifice and service to their country.
  African Americans have a long and proud history of serving in the 
U.S. Armed Forces. Since the founding of our fine nation, African 
Americans have fought to protect our nation. The first African American 
to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor was Sergeant William Harvey 
Carney. He achieved this honor for his heroism during the Civil War. 
Although Sergeant Carney received our nation's highest military honor 
he would not have been allowed to join the Marines. The measure before 
us today honors the African American tradition of service and 
recognizes how far we have come as a society.
  From its inception in 1775 until 1942, the Marine Corps refused to 
recruit African Americans. On June 25, 1941, against heated objections 
from the Marine Corps leadership, President Roosevelt issued Executive 
Order No. 8802 to establish fair employment practices which ended 
racial discrimination in the military. President Roosevelt recognized 
the need for social change in the armed services. African Americans, 
who were long denied access to the Marines, now had the opportunity to 
become Marines.
  Immediately after the racial restrictions were lifted, nearly 20,000 
African Americans signed up to become Marines and began their basic 
training at the segregated Camp Montford Point during World War II 
until 1949. Yet, African American Marines still faced the challenges of 
segregation and racism.
  Railroad tracks divided White Marines at Camp Lejeune from Camp 
Montford Point. African American Marines could only enter Camp Lejeune 
if accompanied by a White Marine. Even under these conditions African 
Americans persevered, completed training and fought to protect our 
country.
  By 1945 all drill instructors and officers at Montford Point were 
African Americans. In the same year, Frederick Branch became the first 
African American Marine to be commissioned as a second lieutenant.
  Marines from Montford Point landed at Iwo Jima on D-Day, and engaged 
in combat in Okinawa. The largest number of African-American Marines to 
serve in combat during World War II took part in the seizure of Okinawa 
in the Ryuku Islands with some 2,000 African-American Marines seeing 
action during the campaign. Overall, 19,168 African-Americans served in 
the Marine Corps in World War II.
  In 1949 Camp Montford Point was deactivated and new African American 
recruits were sent to Paris Island in South Carolina and Camp Pendleton 
in California. In less than five years, the African American men who 
served at Camp Montford Point forever changed U.S. history.
  We should all celebrate the legacy these heroes have given us. We 
celebrate this legacy with pride and are optimistic that our children 
and their grandchildren will forever remember those who have made this 
country

[[Page H7029]]

what it is today. The combat services of the Montford Point Marines 
certainly advanced the cause of civil rights. These African American 
men fought fiercely and with honor. Their actions in combat had a 
strong impact on President Truman's decision to order the desegregation 
of the Armed Forces in 1948.
  We have a duty to recognize Americans who have endured tremendous 
odds. Let these Marines remind us of a yesterday of segregation and 
inequality.
  Also, let them remind us that, as Americans, we are one in service 
and patriotism to our great nation. I stand with my colleagues in 
support of this recognition of the history of such a prestigious group 
of men--the first African American Marines of Montford Point.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Bishop).
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I come to the House floor today to pay tribute to a 
remarkable group of African American trailblazers and patriotic 
servicemen, the Montford Point Marines.
  These distinguished veterans did not just defend our Nation in a time 
of war; but through their courageous acts, they helped to spearhead a 
movement where the goals of achieving equal opportunity and respect for 
universal human rights are now more intricately woven into our society.
  In 1942 President Roosevelt established a Presidential directive 
allowing African Americans to be recruited into the United States 
Marine Corps. These African American recruits were trained at a 
segregated compound known as Montford Point, a facility at Camp 
Lejeune, North Carolina. Over 20,000 African Americans bravely served 
in the Marine Corps during World War II. They selflessly and 
voluntarily put themselves in harm's way to defend our homeland and to 
safeguard these freedoms.
  This past summer, Mr. Speaker, I had the honor of attending the 
reburial ceremony of Montford Point Marine Private James Benjamin. 
Private Benjamin's remains and surviving family members were escorted 
by the Patriot Guard Riders and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
from the West Mortuary in Montezuma, Georgia; and he was laid to rest 
with full military honors at the Andersonville National Cemetery this 
past Memorial Day weekend.

                              {time}  1320

  He was disinterred from a segregated cemetery because at the time of 
his service he could not be buried where white servicemen were buried.
  When it comes to recounting our Nation's history and looking back at 
the trials and tribulations that were endured by the Montford Point 
Marines, I doubt there is a generation or group of World War II 
veterans who had it tougher than they did. People sometimes forget that 
they were fighting two wars, both foreign and domestic.
  But I would like to commend the spirit of these brave men because 
they guide me in my duties to maintain our government's commitment to 
our fighting troops and for helping the troops who protect our freedoms 
at this time. Not only does that mean that we have to, today, maintain 
adequate salary and benefit levels for the military, but we've got to 
keep our promise to our veterans, our armed services retirees, and 
their families.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague, Corrine Brown, who has 
championed this issue and brought the story of the Montford Point 
Marines to the attention of our entire Nation. I commend the Commandant 
and Marine Corps for their efforts in making sure that our Nation 
doesn't forget.
  I urge my colleagues, therefore, to support H.R. 2447 and to honor 
the first black Marines with the recognition that they deserve and that 
they have patiently been waiting for.
  Mr. Speaker, following is my statement in its entirety:
  Mr. Speaker, I come to the House Floor today to pay tribute to a 
remarkable group of African-American trailblazers and patriotic 
servicemen--the Montford Point Marines. These distinguished veterans 
did not just defend our nation in a time of war; through their 
courageous acts they helped to spearhead a movement where the goals of 
achieving equal opportunity and respect for universal human rights are 
now more intricately woven into our society.
  In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt established a presidential 
directive allowing African-Americans to be recruited in the United 
States Marine Corps. These African-American recruits were trained at a 
segregated compound known as Montford Point, a facility at Camp 
Lejeune, North Carolina.
  Approximately 20,000 African-Americans bravely served in the Marines 
Corps during World War II. These men selflessly and voluntarily put 
themselves in harm's way to defend our homeland and safeguard our 
freedoms.
  This past summer, I had the honor of attending the reburial ceremony 
of Montford Point Marine PVT James Benjamin. PVT Benjamin's remains and 
surviving family members were escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders and 
members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars from the West Mortuary in 
Montezuma, Georgia, and he was laid to rest with full military honors 
at the Andersonville National Cemetery this past Memorial Day Weekend.
  When it comes to recounting our nation's history and looking back at 
the trial and tribulations that were endured by the Montford Point 
Marines, I doubt there is a generation or group of World War II 
veterans who had it tougher than them. People sometimes forget that 
these Marines were fighting two wars, one foreign and one domestic. 
Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese Empire were not the only foes that 
the Montford Point Marines had to encounter. Every day they went into 
battle against Jim Crow, bigotry and racism here at home.
  During World War II, there were some German and Italian prisoners of 
war that were treated better than the black soldiers serving in our 
Armed Services. Some American establishments that refused to serve 
blacks serving in the military would allow imprisoned German and 
Italian soldiers to patronize their facilities.
  Not many people would have had the will to overcome such disparate 
treatment. But instead of harboring bitterness or vengeance, this group 
stood tall and remained above the fray.
  The Montford Point Marines have demonstrated that patriotic service 
means more than just saying you love this country and the promise it 
offers. Their resilience and resolve show that true patriots are those 
individuals who prioritize the needs of their country ahead of their 
own, even if they do so at their own peril.
  These Marines gave our nation a gift that extends beyond their heroic 
war service. In being the best of the very best, both on and off the 
battlefield, they helped to change perspectives and broaden peoples' 
horizons. They showed the entire world that when given an opportunity, 
people can meet any challenge and achieve any goal.
  As a Member of Congress, I rely on the spirit of these brave men to 
guide me in my duties to maintain our Federal Government's commitment 
to our fighting troops and those who preceded them. That means not only 
maintaining adequate salary and benefit levels for our nation's 
military, but keeping our promise to our veterans, Armed Services 
retirees and military families.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague, Corrine Brown, who has 
championed this issue and brought the story of the Montford Point 
Marines to the attention of the entire nation.
  I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 2447 and to honor the first 
black Marines with the recognition they deserve and have patiently been 
waiting for.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I think this has been a great debate. I want 
to thank Congresswoman Brown for bringing H.R. 2447 to the floor. I 
think, any time, that the House of Representatives can debate and 
soothe the pains of yesterday with the glory of today by honoring these 
Marines who served at Montford Point.
  So, Mr. Speaker, it is long overdue that we honor these Marines for 
their courageous service to our country. These men are a very important 
part of our country's history, and I hope that each and every one of 
our colleagues in the House today will join Ms. Brown in saluting these 
great marines.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker, I am honored to join my colleagues in 
support of H.R. 2447. Nearly 70 years after the Marine Corps became the 
last military branch to accept blacks under orders from President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, Congress will vote today on whether to 
grant the Montford Point Marines the Congressional Gold Medal, the 
nation's highest civilian honor. I would like to commend my colleague, 
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, for her leadership in sponsoring this 
important and historical legislation and shepherding the bill to the 
House floor.
  ``Loyalty and Service'' to our nation despite prejudice and 
discrimination is one of the mantras used to describe the first 
African-Americans to serve in the United States Marines. These black 
marines were segregated during their basic training at Montford Point 
Camp between 1942-1949.

[[Page H7030]]

  Overall, 19,168 African-Americans served in the Marine Corps in World 
War II and helped pave the way for the future of African-Americans in 
the Marine Corps. Although we have come a long way, we cannot be 
satisfied and neither is the Marine Commandant. Today, of the 22,155 
African American who currently serve in the Marine Corps, there are 
only about 1,326 officers. The Marine Corps has 88 generals today, but 
only six are black.
  I applaud the efforts of advocates who have committed to increasing 
the number of African-American officers in the Marine Corps and am a 
staunch supporter of this legislation. African-Americans continue a 
legacy of service in the Marine Corps and increasing the number of 
black officers is long overdue.
  But today, we honor those African-Americans who were the first to 
serve and all who have served and are currently serving. Most of the 
19,000 Montford Point Marines have died, but today we join the movement 
to honor their legacy by bestowing them with the highest military 
decoration awarded by the U.S. government. This is long overdue and I 
urge passage of this historical legislation.
  Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice my strong support for 
H.R. 2447, to grant the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point 
Marines.
  I want to thank my colleague from Florida, Ms. Brown, for sponsoring 
this bill and recognizing the efforts of true heroes who were willing 
to make the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation.
  In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt established a presidential 
directive allowing African Americans to be recruited by the Marine 
Corps.
  These men were not trained at Parris Island or San Diego, but instead 
were segregated to Montford Point, near Camp Lejeune, NC.
  Between 1942 and 1949, approximately 20,000 men received their basic 
training at Montford Point.
  The original intent of the directive was to discharge all of these 
men after the conclusion of World War II. But after being able to 
display their commitment and courage, it became obvious that these 
African American Marines were just as capable as all other Marines 
regardless of race, color, and creed.
  And to this day, hundreds of thousands of minorities make these same 
commitment and sacrifices for our country in our military's efforts 
across the world.
  At a time when African Americans suffered countless instances of 
prejudice and injustice--not only by their peers, but by the laws they 
abided by--these men were willing to put their commitment to country 
above all else and become trailblazers for all those who followed their 
lead.
  I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 2447 which will award 
the Congressional Gold Medal in appreciation for these Marines' 
sacrifice and dedication to our country.
  It will, moreover, reassert the fundamental principle that our 
country was founded on--that all men are created equal.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, today we gather to honor the sacrifice 
and patriotism of the Montford Point Marines with Congress's highest 
civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal.
  The Montford Point Marines were this Nation's first class of African-
American Marine recruits. As was often the case during the Jim Crow 
Era, being the first African-Americans to break the color barriers 
resulted in a whole new set of hardships. Montford Point Marines 
suffered from the start. Not only were they not allowed to train at 
Camp Lejeune with their white colleagues, the Commandant, the Marine's 
highest ranking officer said publicly that if he had to choose between 
250,000 African-American Marines and 5,000 whites, he would rather have 
the whites.
  Training along the North Carolina coast, they endured inferior 
conditions and trained with inferior equipment dodging snakes and 
malaria-infected mosquitoes in summer and risking exposure from the 
bitter cold in winter as they passed the nights in huts made of 
cardboard.
  Fueled by a fierce determination to answer the call to arms in their 
Nation's hour of need, the Montford Point Marines endured these 
hardships and joined the fight in Okinawa, where their courage and 
bravery were celebrated. When the war ended, they returned home to 
silence, abuse and indifference and were soon forgotten. That is, until 
today.
  As a cosponsor of this bill, I am proud to stand with my colleagues 
to recognize the Montford Point Marines for their courage and sacrifice 
with the Congressional Gold Medal.
  Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in support of H.R. 2447, 
introduced by the gentle lady form Florida, Corrine Brown, to award a 
collective Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines for 
their patriotic service during World War II and their important role in 
promoting the cause of equal rights in our country.
  Like the Tuskegee Airmen from my native Alabama, the Montford Point 
Marines fought for the principles of our democracy overseas at a time 
when prejudice and segregation prevented them from enjoying all of our 
country's freedoms here at home.
  Recently, our nation has paused to remember two giants in the civil 
rights movement. Here in Washington, the new memorial to Dr. Martin 
Luther King was dedicated on the National Mall. Over the past few days 
in Birmingham, thousands of people from all races have united to pay 
tribute to the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who passed away on October 
5th at the age of 89.
  In the face of prejudice, hostility, and physical attack, individuals 
like Dr. King, Reverend Shuttlesworth, and our own cherished colleague 
John Lewis always held to the highest ideals and did not allow the hate 
they experienced to diminish their love for their country.
  Behind the prominent leaders of the civil rights movement, as they 
themselves would tell you, have been many courageous foot soldiers with 
the same ideals. The phrase ``foot soldiers'' is literally true when it 
comes to the Montford Point Marines.
  These men, our first African American Marines, willingly stepped 
forward during World War II to risk their lives to preserve freedoms 
that they themselves were being denied. All too often, they encountered 
vicious racial discrimination that was as painful in its own way as any 
bulletfire. This could have ripped the morale of our service apart and 
helped the enemy.
  Instead, the soldiers who endured the harsh conditions at Montford 
Point and racial indignities in the field of battle--more than 20,000 
in all from 1942-1949--served with the highest level of honor and 
loyalty. They fought fiercely in Okinawa and Iwo Jima. They cleaned up 
ash after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
  The Montford Point Marines were never properly recognized for their 
bravery and heroism--not during the war and certainly not at the end, 
when they were essentially dismissed and officially all but forgotten.
  But their colorblind service raised a profound contradiction: after 
fighting for freedom abroad, how could any American be denied full 
rights here at home? We all know the answer, you could not continue to 
deny those rights.
  In the beginning, the Montford Point Marines set out only to serve 
their country during a time of war. With their valor, they helped to 
change military history. They wound up changing the social history of 
America as well.
  Today, we are belatedly telling these heroes, ``Thank You.'' Marine 
Commandant James F. Amos should be commended for his determination to 
make sure that these veterans are properly remembered not just by the 
Corps but by a grateful nation as well.
  As the proud father of a son who served in the Marines, it is a 
personal honor for me to be able to speak in support of a Congressional 
Gold Medal for the Montford Point Marines, and I urge the immediate 
passage of this long-overdue legislation.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2447.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

                          ____________________