Friday, August 31, 2007

The Way It Was

There used to be a lot of discrimination in the Marine Corps against blacks. That has changed. However the old days are being documented. Lest we forget.

LaSalle Vaughn said the hardest thing in his 23-year career as a Marine was being passed over for promotion and retiring as a staff sergeant despite passing the test for a higher rank.

He said it was because he declined to work for yet another general as a steward, a type of personal assistant.

"My life in the Marine Corps was hard because every base I went on, there was nothing but discrimination," said Vaughn, who was one of the first black men to enter the Marine Corps in 1942.

However, the outspoken 83-year-old Port Royal resident has garnered much more recognition since his retirement than he did in the Marines because of his insistence on passing on the story of the first black Marines, who were trained at Montford Point, N.C., from 1942 to 1949.

Vaughn was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Montford Point Marine Association in July, and a documentary on the Montford Point Marines, for which he served as one of the advisers, is set to air on public television stations in the Carolinas starting in September and nationwide in November.

The story of the 20,000 black recruits who trained at the segregated base was threatening to be swept under the rug. He said he asked a recruit at a speaking engagement whether he had heard of Montford Point Marines.
The Navy used to discriminate against Jews. Rickover changed that. He has a submarine named after him.

Or we could talk about the Marine's General Honore. Famous for asking a reporter why he was "stuck on stupid". My kind of Marine.

Semper Fi.

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