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1st Marine Corps District

Eastern Recruiting Region

605 Stewart Ave, Garden City, NY 11530
Roosevelt, N.Y., Marine receives Congressional Gold Medal

By | June 10, 2013

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ROOSEVELT, N.Y. - A new monument dedicated to local veterans was unveiled at Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27. Veterans and local community members gathered on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

ROOSEVELT, N.Y. - A new monument dedicated to local veterans was unveiled at Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27. Veterans and local community members gathered on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. (Photo by Sgt. Kristin E. Moreno)


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ROOSEVELT, N.Y. - Army Pfc. Brittney McKenzie, who is stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, 201st Brigade Support Battalion, Alpha Company, addresses the local community during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for her grandfather, Robert L. Harding, at Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27. Harding was being honored for being one of the original Montford Point Marines

ROOSEVELT, N.Y. - Army Pfc. Brittney McKenzie, who is stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, 201st Brigade Support Battalion, Alpha Company, addresses the local community during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for her grandfather, Robert L. Harding, at Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27. Harding was being honored for being one of the original Montford Point Marines (Photo by Sgt. Kristin E. Moreno)


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ROOSEVELT, N.Y. -- Robert L. Harding, an original Montford Point Marine, and his granddaughter Army Pfc. Brittney McKenzie, stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., salute as the national anthem is sang during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27.  The medal is the highest civilian award and bestowed by Congress.

ROOSEVELT, N.Y. -- Robert L. Harding, an original Montford Point Marine, and his granddaughter Army Pfc. Brittney McKenzie, stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., salute as the national anthem is sang during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27. The medal is the highest civilian award and bestowed by Congress. (Photo by Sgt. Kristin E. Moreno)


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ROOSEVELT, N.Y. -- Robert L. Harding, an original Montford Point Marine, acts as the grand marshal for the Memorial Day parade in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27.  The parade ended at the Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle where he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and a new monument honoring 29 local veterans was unveiled.

ROOSEVELT, N.Y. -- Robert L. Harding, an original Montford Point Marine, acts as the grand marshal for the Memorial Day parade in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27. The parade ended at the Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle where he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and a new monument honoring 29 local veterans was unveiled. (Photo by Sgt. Kristin E. Moreno)


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ROOSEVELT, N.Y. -- Robert L. Harding, an original Montford Point Marine, receives a Congressional Gold Medal at the Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27.  Following his ceremony, a new monument honoring local veterans was unveiled.

ROOSEVELT, N.Y. -- Robert L. Harding, an original Montford Point Marine, receives a Congressional Gold Medal at the Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle in Roosevelt, N.Y., May 27. Following his ceremony, a new monument honoring local veterans was unveiled. (Photo by Sgt. Kristin E. Moreno)


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ROOSEVELT, N.Y. -- Robert L. Harding, an original Montford Point Marine, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal at the Brig. Gen. George A. Jones Triangle on May 27.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress. In November 2011, the president signed into law a bill to award the medal to the Montford Point Marines for their distinguished service.

From 1942 to 1949, approximately 20,000 African American men trained at Montford Point Camp in Jacksonville, N.C., for the opportunity to defend our country and be called Marine. During this time, segregation was culturally accepted and still prevalent in the military. Because of their efforts and accomplishments in battle, the Marine Corps underwent significant changes leading toward greater equality and opportunity.

The Montford Point Association, veterans with the American Legion and approximately 150 local community members came out to the ceremony, including Harding’s granddaughter, Army Pfc. Brittney McKenzie, who is currently stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, 201st Brigade Support Battalion, Alpha Company.

“It is amazing to be able to share this opportunity with my grandfather,” said McKenzie, who is currently training for an upcoming deployment.

During Harding’s ceremony, a new monument was unveiled depicting the names of 29 local community veterans. The unveiling was preceded by a roll call for the veterans honored lead by Town of Hempstead councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby and a short speech by Charles Fuschillo Jr., New York State Senator for the 8th District, who said it is truly an honor to unveil the monument. It was proceeded by a twenty-one gun salute and the playing of taps.

McKenzie spoke on behalf of her grandfather and said he accepts the award on behalf of the platoon he served with.

The diversity of today’s Marine Corps is in large part because of the actions and perseverance of the Montford Point Marines. In a message to all Marines, Gen. James. F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, said, “Of nearly 20,000 African American Marines who went through Montford Point, approximately 200 still survive. The Congressional Gold Medal will honor all Montford Point Marines from a grateful nation and Marine Corps.”