The following information was released by Los Alamitos Medical Center.
Los Alamitos Medical Center volunteer Calvin Williams flew to Washington DC last week where he and the Mountford Point Marines were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. He attended the services with his youngest grand-daughter. Upon returning home to Southern California, a first stop was to visit his 101 year old sister and share his medal with her.
Mr. Williams was just 18 years old when he was drafted and ‘chose’ the Marine Corp. At the time, the ban on blacks serving in the Marines was lifted and the Los Angeles area recruiter had a quota of two blacks per day to enlist. Mr. Williams met the requirement and was placed in the Marines. After training at Mountford Point, he served for two and a half years in the South Pacific.
The Medal of Honor ceremony was held on Capitol Hill with full military honors. Each Mountford Point Marine who attended received a bronze replica of the Congressional medal. Speakers included leaders from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, including Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
What really stayed with Mr. Williams was part of the comments made during the ceremony. “Years before Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., these heroes joined the Marines to defend our great nation. “Mr. Williams said that the award was about breaking down barriers in a time that preceded the civil rights movement most people talk about today.
When asked what this meant to him, Mr. Williams said he was overwhelmed. Receiving such prestigious recognition didn’t really start to sink in until he was on the plane home. Mr. Williams was one of 20,000 black Marines who passed through Mountford Point.
Courtesy photo of Calvin Williams.
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- First African Americans In Marine Corps Honored With Congressional Gold Medal (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Watch This: Montford Point Marines Honored (theroot.com)
- World War II African-American Marines Receive Congressional Gold Medal (defense.gov)
- Congress honors black Marines (newsvine.com)