HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - From 1942 to 1949, approximately 20,000 African-American men enlisted in the Marine Corps at a time when our nation was at war and the country and military services were resistant to integration.
After completing arduous and segregated basic training at Montford Point Camp, North Carolina, these Marines served with honor ding a critical period in our nation's history.
Montford Point Marines served in some of the bloodiest struggles in the Pacific - Saipan, Guam Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Some died in these battles; many others continued their service in Korea and Vietnam.
Montford Point Marines - men like Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson, Edgar Huff and Frederick C. Branch - are now legends in the rich history of the Marine Corps.
In 1944, Walter Palmer deployed to the Pacific Theater in direct support of combat operations in WWII. During his tenure, he was promoted to private first class.
In 2012 congress conferred our nation's highest civilian award on the Montford Point Marines. Unaware of the honor due him, it took until 2014 for Palmer to get his gold.
Small in stature but big on humility, Palmer kept his comments brief, simply thanking everyone for coming to the ceremony in his honor.
Walter Palmer - a humble representative of the legacy of service and sacrifice of all Marines who earned the eagle, globe and anchor at Montford Point Camp.