2013-03-05 The Montford Point Marines are of course legendary for their courage and their ability to fight Japanese in World War II and racism in the United States at the same time. But talking to some of the more than 30 plus Montford Point Marines at the ceremony, it was clear that they were most interested in what the Commandant later did in the ceremony.
The Commandant emphasized the inclusion of the Montford Point Marines within the long and distinguished history of the USMC, and not their separatism. And towards the end of the speech, the Commandant put on the hat of the Montford Point Marines alumni with 4 stars on it which drove whom the point that he was the Commandant of all Marines, not folks who at one time were forced to be separate.
And the Commandant also delivered the best line of the day: “Because of sequestration, I am cutting my speech by 10 per cent and will only speak for 9 minutes rather than 10.”
How did the Marines feel about the day and the coming of the new ship?
This was well summed up by a comment which Major General Walsh, Deputy Commanding General of the USMC Combat Development Command, who took part in the ceremony, made to us at the ceremony:
The christening of the USNS Montford Point (MLP-1) is a significant step in realizing the 21st century Naval capabilities that Marines and Sailors from generations past could only dream about.
Through the innovation and foresight of previous Navy and Marine Corps leaders and our industry partners, we are now integrating innovative capabilities like USNS Montford Point into our Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons that will allow us to achieve operational concepts like seabasing and ship to objective maneuver.
As Marines, the icing on this cake is naming this wonderful ship “Montford Point” in recognition of our Montford Point Marines, the first African-Americans allowed to enlist in our beloved Corps during our Nation’s utmost time of need, and who were so deservedly honored last year with the Congressional Gold Medal.
This “pier in the ocean” has all of us very excited!