IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
September 8, 2011
Mrs. Hagan (for herself, Mr. Burr, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Lieberman, Mrs. Feinstein, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Brown of Ohio, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mrs. Boxer, and Mr. Graham) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
To authorize the award of a Congressional gold medal to the Montford Point Marines of World War II.
Congress finds that—
on June 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 8802, establishing the Fair Employment Practices Commission and opening the doors for African-American individuals to enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time;
the first African-American Marine recruits were trained at Camp Montford Point, near the New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina;
on August 26, 1942, Howard P. Perry of Charlotte, North Carolina, was the first African-American private to set foot on Montford Point;
during April 1943, the first African-American Marine drill instructors took over as the senior drill instructors of the 8 platoons then in training, including—
Edgar R. Huff, 16th Platoon;
Thomas Brokaw, 17th Platoon;
Charles E. Allen, 18th Platoon;
Gilbert H. Johnson, 19th Platoon;
Arnold R. Bostic, 20th Platoon;
Mortimer A. Cox, 21st Platoon;
Edgar R. Davis, Jr., 22nd Platoon; and
George A. Jackson, 23rd Platoon;
African-American Marines of the 8th Ammunition Company and the 36th Depot Company landed on the Island of Iwo Jima on D-Day, February 19, 1945;
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;
on November 10, 1945, Frederick C. Branch was the first African-American Marine to be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, at the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia;
overall, 19,168 African-Americans served in the Marine Corps in World War II;
16 years after
the closure of Montford Point as a training facility for African-American
recruits, an enterprising group of men, including original Montford Point
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, and laid
the foundation for the Montford Point Marine Association Inc.;
organized as a nonmilitary, nonprofit entity, the Montford Point Marine Association has as its main mission to preserve the legacy of the first African-American Marines, and today the Association has 36 chapters throughout the United States;
many of the first African-American Marines stayed in the Marine Corps for a career, including Sergeant Major Edgar R. Huff, 1 of the very first recruits at Montford Point;
Sergeant Major Huff was the first African-American Sergeant Major and the first African-American Marine to retire with 30 years of service, which included combat in 3 major conflicts, World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War;
Huff was awarded the Bronze Star medal with a combat
V for valor
for saving the life of his radio operator during the Tet Offensive in
another original Montford Point Marine who saw extensive combat action in both the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War was Sergeant Major Louis Roundtree, who was awarded the Silver Star, 4 Bronze Stars, 3 Purple Hearts, and numerous other personal and unit awards for his service during those conflicts;
on April 19,
1974, Montford Point was renamed
Camp Johnson, after legendary
Montford Point Marine Sergeant Major Gilbert
the Montford Point Marine Association has several memorials in place to perpetuate the memory of who they were and what they accomplished, including—
the Montford Point Marine Association Edgar R. Huff Memorial Scholarship, which is offered annually through the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation;
the Montford Point Museum located at Camp Johnson in Jacksonville, North Carolina;
the Brooks Elbert Gray, Jr. Consolidated Academic Instruction Facility, named in honor of original Montford Point Marine and Montford Point Marine Corps Association founder Master Gunnery Sergeant Gray (dedicated on April 15, 2005, at Camp Johnson, North Carolina); and
Branch Hall, a building within the Officers Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, which was named in honor of Captain Frederick Branch during July of 1997.
Congressional gold medal
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 to the Montford Point Marines, United States Marine Corps, collectively, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II.
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.
Following the award of the gold medal in honor of the Montford Point Marines, United States Marine Corps, under subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be displayed as appropriate and made available for research.
Sense of congress
It is the sense of Congress that the Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal received under paragraph (1) available for display elsewhere, particularly at other appropriate locations associated with the Montford Point Marines, United States Marine Corps.
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.
Medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
Authorization of appropriations; proceeds of sale
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 medal authorized under section 2.
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.