Gulfport, MS – Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS), today invited the public to attend a ceremony to recognize local Montford Point Marines and their families on Wednesday, October 17th , from 9:30-11:30 AM at the World War II Memorial in Gulfport.
“These first African American Marines stepped up to serve at a difficult time in our nation’s history,” Palazzo stated. “As a Marine veteran, I consider it an honor to recognize the service and lives of these men.”
Master Sergeant Fred Ash of Gulfport, served at Camp Montford Point when he joined the Marine Corps in 1945. He made a career of serving his country during WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. Palazzo plans to present Ash’s family with a certificate and bronze medal at Wednesday’s ceremony, where Ash will be recognized posthumously.
Montford Point Marine, Mr. David Potts, Sr., 88 of Gulfport, will also be present at Wednesday’s ceremony. He was first recognized at the ceremony in Washington, DC earlier in the year. Special guests from the Marine Corps community will also be present.
In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the military to accept the first African Americans into the military. African American Marines were first trained at a segregated At Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Montford Point was home to more than 19,000 men for basic training, and only about 400 survive today. A ceremony honoring the service of Montford Point Marines was held in Washington, DC earlier in the year.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will take place at the World War II Memorial located at the intersection of 14th Street and 27th Avenue, behind the Hancock Bank building. Congressman Palazzo’s office has been in the process of identifying other area Montford Point Marines, and can be reached at (228) 864-7670.