Contributions of Montford Point Marines celebrated at Cherry Point

Published: Friday, February 8, 2013 at 04:45 PM.

When Thompkins was introduced, the entire crowd stood up to clap and offer their respect.

Thompkins said it wasn’t always that way though for young black Marines.

“They told me I had to sit in the back of the bus,” he said. “We were breaking in then.”

He was one of 19,000 that ultimately went through Montford Point, the Marine Corps’ boot camp for African-Americans from 1942 to 1949.

Sgt. Maj. Christopher Robinson, sergeant major for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point, was the keynote speaker for the event.

“Words cannot truly capture what these men endured,” Robinson said. “They’ve established a sense of sacrifice and duty that continues even today in the thousands of African-American Marines who serve and wear the eagle, globe and anchor with pride and dignity, honor, courage and commitment.”

Robinson said he knew little about the Montford Point Marines until his tour as sergeant major for the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training at Cherry Point in 2006.



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