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Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

3280 Russell Road, 2nd Floor Quantico, Va. 22134
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Marines support nation's future leaders at NAACP

By Staff Sgt. Arsenio R. Cortez Jr. | Marine Corps Recruiting Command | July 16, 2003

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Several leaders of the Marine Corps met with future leaders of the nation during the 94th Annual NAACP Convention held here 12-16 July.

Major General Leo V. Williams, deputy commanding general for Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Va., and a platoon of Marines gathered with youth advisors, representatives and members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Youth and College Division, to reinforce the importance of mentoring the future leaders of this nation.

Leadership was the subject of choice throughout the convention. As an organization established upon leadership, it was fitting for the Marine Corps to support these future leaders of America.

"The Marine Corps realizes that our future is totally built in the youth of America," Williams said. "The NAACP provides nurturing and training for potential good Marines. From a corporate stand point, we, as an institution, have the responsibility to support organizations, such as the NAACP, that develops future leaders of America."

The youth advisors' luncheon, supported exclusively by the Marines, was one of the highlights of the convention. During the luncheon, the future leaders stood up and recited the NAACP soldier's creed. The creed reinforces their role to the organization, to the nation, and their commitment to a better future.

"What is our mission?" asked Menelle Williams, who represents the Montgomery, Ala. Youth Council. With conviction, the members answered, "We are NAACP Soldiers! We must be focused, determined, educated, strong, unafraid to stand up against the masses and be a voice for the few. We are confident in justice. We are a catalyst for radical positive change. We step with boldness to the battlefield now because tomorrow is never promised to a warrior."

According to Maj. Gen. Williams, the most important message the Marine Corps conveyed was through the presence of Marines, young and old - from corporal to major general. The different levels of leadership among the represented ranks displayed a variety of experience levels that future leaders can look to as an example.

"The most important piece was being there in uniform to be a role model for the young people in attendance and for the advisors to see that we are there when they need us," Williams said.

A touching moment during the convention was when the Marines were applauded in a standing ovation for their sacrifice to protect freedom.

"In this time of crisis, we never know what will happen. But thank God for the men and women who provide us safety and security and take care of us," said Dr. Shirly Johnson, Miami Dade youth advisor.

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