The top leader of the Marine Corps wants the first black Marines to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
Commandant Gen. James Amos told hundreds of Marine Corps officers at the National Naval Officers Association meeting in San Diego on Tuesday that it is time for Congress to honor the group known as the Montford Point Marines.
About 20,000 black Marines trained at Montford Point in North Carolina in the 1940s after President Franklin D. Roosevelt integrated the Marine Corps.
Amos says his goal is to cement their role in the Marine Corps' 235-year history.
His efforts are part of a broader goal in diversifying the military's smallest branch. Amos says only 5 percent of officers are black and that needs to increase.