Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. Presents Congressional Gold Medals to Montford Point Marines in Metuchen

Aug 29, 2012 Issues: Veterans

METUCHEN, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) on Wednesday presented Sgt. Daniel Robinson and Cpl. Austin Banks of Metuchen with Congressional Gold Medals for their achievements and contributions as Montford Point Marines during World War II.  The Ceremony was organized by the United States Marine Corps and took place in front of Borough Hall in Metuchen.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9902 in 1941, which required the armed services, including the U.S. Marine Corps, to recruit and enlist African Americans, but African American recruits were still not allowed to train alongside their white counterparts.  Montford Point was established in North Carolina as a separate training camp for African-American Marine Corps recruits and nearly 20,000 Marines passed through Montford Point between 1942 and 1949.  The Marines who trained there went on to fight for the U.S. overseas and pave the way for generations of African-American marines and servicemen. T he military was officially desegregated by an Executive Order signed by President Harry Truman in July 1948.

“It is an honor to present the Congressional Gold Medal to Sgt. Daniel Robinson and Cpl. Austin Banks of Metuchen.  The Montford Point Marines truly represent the Greatest Generation, not only fighting for our country in World War II but also enduring segregation in order to do so,” stated Pallone.  “We owe them a debt of gratitude and can learn a great deal from their sacrifices for our country.”

To honor the contributions of the Montford Point Marines Congress passed H.R. 2477, which granted them the Congressional Gold Medal.  It was signed into law by President Obama in November 2011. 

“The 20,000 Montford Point Marines, including the approximately 420 living today, were trailblazers.  I am proud to have co-sponsored the legislation that grants these national heroes the Congressional Gold Medal, to ensure their sacrifices and contributions to the success of our nation are recognized and their tremendous legacy is never forgotten,” added Pallone.

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Contact:
Ray Zaccaro/Allison Bormel
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