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VIDEO: Late Montford Point Marine honored with Congressional Medal

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Saturday morning at Bryant Commons Park, family members of the late Gunnery Sgt. Milton Martin Jr., who was a Montford Point Marine, were presented the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony led by the Montford Point Association. The medal was presented to his daughter, Dianne Rawls.

The Montford Point Marines were established in 1942 in Jacksonville, N.C. They were the first African Americans to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corp. Martin was part of that inaugural class and served during WWII.

Liberty County Board Chairman Donald Lovette said Martin was his uncle. Lovette said the Montford Point Marines were not treated kindly and were not wanted by the Marines.

“They thought they would fail,” Lovette said. “But they made their minds up to do it, and they did.”

He said his uncle never mentioned he was part of history.

“We couldn’t believe he didn’t say anything about it, but Saturday, the world knows that Mr. Martin Jr. was one of those Montford Point Marines. We are so honored to be here today to honor the service of my uncle. Because of what they did, we stand here today, and because of what they did, America shares its freedom, and I’m honored to be a part of that.”

“If it wasn’t for Gunnery Sgt. Martin, there wouldn’t be no us,” said Tyrone Jackson, president of the Beaufort Chapter of the National Montford Point Marine Association.

Congressman Buddy Carter, Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown and other dignitaries attended the ceremony, where a square on Veterans Memorial Walk at Bryant Commons Park was also dedicated to the family.

A Congressional Gold Medal was presented to all the Montford Point Marines during a June 2012 ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The medal presented to the Martin Jr., family was a replica of the original Congressional Gold Medal as allowed by law. It is a bronze medal covered with gold plating.