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Congressman Pallone Presents Piscataway Marine with Congressional Gold Medal

October 17, 2012
Press Release

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today presented Corporal Charles Brown, Jr. of Piscataway with a Congressional Gold Medal for his distinguished achievements as a Montford Point Marine during World War II. The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian award. The ceremony was held at Parker’s Landing Lane Care Residence in New Brunswick where Cpl. Brown now resides.

In 1941, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 which required the armed services to accept African Americans recruits, but the military remained segregated.  Montford Point Camp was created 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 in WWII and pave the way for generations of African-American marines and servicemen.

“This is a long overdue recognition of the sacrifices and bravery of the Montford Point Marines. The 20,000 Montford Point Marines, including the approximately 420 living today, were trailblazers, in many circumstances fighting abroad for freedoms and civil rights that they did not enjoy at that time in the U.S.,” said Pallone. “I am honored to present a Congressional Gold Medal to one of these heroes from my Congressional district, Cpl. Charles Brown.”

Cpl Charles Brown, Jr. entered the Marines on January 28, 1944 and trained at Montford Point. He honorably served during WWII until 1946 in the Pacific Theatre of Operations, including Iwo Jima. When Cpl. Brown returned from the war he settled in Piscataway to raise a family and work as an electrical technician.

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. A formal ceremony took place in Washington DC on June 27, 2012, at which nearly 400 surviving Montford Point Marines were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal.

“Corporal Brown and the rest of the Montford Point Marines are true patriots. 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.