Historical Montford Point Weapon Arrives Back In Eastern Carolina

A piece of history that was used during World War II is now back home here in the east.

It's returning to the base where African American Marines trained back in the days of segregation.

One of 10 M1A1 anti-aircraft gun’s remaining in the world was dedicated Friday at Camp Johnson. Camp Johnson was home to Montford Point, the base where African American Marines trained during the days of segregation. Marines there with the 51st and 52nd defense battalions trained with the weapons.

Montford Point Marines who fought in World War II were on hand for the dedication of the weapon some haven’t seen since the war.
“It brings back memories,” said Turner Blunt, who learned to use the gun when he was just 17-years-old. Blunt fought in Saipan, Taiwan, and Okinawa.

Houston Shinal, National Monument Director at Camp Johnson, said it took 2 years to track down the gun, "A gun collector had it. He had acquired it through an estate sale and had it parked in his front yard so we were really thrilled to be able to get it.”

The men who saw it in action back during the war, and then only in black and white photos afterward, are amazed to see it again in color.

"I'm so proud to be a part of this history and to be around as long as I have," said Montford Point Marine, Norman Preston.