Families receive Congressional Gold Medal awards on Marines’ behalf

Families receive Congressional Gold Medal awards on Marines’ behalf
Published: Feb. 19, 2022 at 9:08 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2022 at 11:06 AM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Families of the first Black Marines, known as Montford Point Marines, received prestigious awards on their loved ones’ behalf Saturday.

In 2012, the Montford Point Marines were awarded a collective Congressional Gold Medal, the country’s highest civilian honor. When they served in World War II, there was no official record of the thousands of members, so the Montford Point Marine Association has sought to identify family members and give them their replica medals in the years since.

Mallorie Berger of Coral Springs, Florida received the award on behalf of her grandfather, Maurice L. Burns.

Reginald Moore, a former combat veteran of 10 years living in New Bern, NC, accepted on behalf of his grandfather, Morris Ruffin.

The ceremony took place at Montford Point Marine Museum in Jacksonville at 1:00 p.m.

“The quest continues to locate more than 15,000 men who served as Montford Point Marines and have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Susan Dosier on behalf of Visit Jacksonville NC. “These first Black Marines trained separately from their white counterparts in harsh conditions and then fought valiantly alongside white Marines in World War II.”

The families also visited Lejeune Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville to honor the sacrifice their loved ones made.

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