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In this April 1943 image provided by the (Credit: AP)

In this April 1943 image provided by the Marine Corps, a platoon of Montford recruits stands at parade rest in New River, N.C. Racial segregation in the Marine Corps had barred black troops from joining the Corps' hero-producing combat units.

Remembering the first African-American Marines

For years, Marines from an all-black unit went unrecognized, even though they played a pivotal role in civil rights.

Robert Harding of Roosevelt is one of a
Buy photo
(Credit: Alejandra Villa)

Robert Harding of Roosevelt is one of a handful of the Montford Point Marines living on Long Island who were African Americans who endured discrimination and prejudice in the Marines. While not went to the Pacific, many did and served with great valor. In 2012 the Montford Point Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. (May 1, 2013)

Vincent Long of Hempstead holds the Congressional Gold
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Vincent Long of Hempstead holds the Congressional Gold Medal that he was awarded last year for heroic efforts in World War II. Long was a member of the legendary Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the US Marine Corps. There are only 700 Montford Point Marines left in the country, and Long is one of only two survivors in Long Island. (April 11, 2013)

Vincent Long of Hempstead is among the last
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Vincent Long of Hempstead is among the last of the Montford Point Marines, GIs who became the first black Americans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. (April 11, 2013)

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In this April 1943 image provided by the
(Credit: AP)

In this April 1943 image provided by the Marine Corps, a platoon of Montford recruits stands at parade rest in New River, N.C. Racial segregation in the Marine Corps had barred black troops from joining the Corps' hero-producing combat units.

In this 1945 image provided by the Marine
(Credit: AP )

In this 1945 image provided by the Marine Corps, Montford Marines are seen in an unnamed location in the Pacific during WWII.

U.S. troops in the Pacific Islands continued to
(Credit: AP )

U.S. troops in the Pacific Islands continued to find enemy holdouts long after the main Japanese forces had either surrendered or disappeared. Guam was considered cleared by August 12, 1944, but parts of the island were still dangerous half a year later. Here, patrolling Marines pass a dead Japanese sniper. These Marines may belong to the 52nd Defense Battalion, one of two black units sent to the Pacific. (March 10, 1945)

Montford Marines in training in North Carolina. Black
(Credit: AP )

Montford Marines in training in North Carolina. Black service members helped spur the early civil-rights movement. (1945)

In this 1945 image provided by the Marine
(Credit: AP )

In this 1945 image provided by the Marine Corps, Montford Marines are seen with artillery in an unnamed location of the war in the Pacific during WWII.

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Charles Anderson of Westbury is one of less
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Charles Anderson of Westbury is one of less than 750 Montford Point Marines still living. Jim Crow rules that limited black Marines to less heroic service roles -- cooks, drivers, supply workers and the like -- would not spare them from combat's deadly hand. (May 1, 2013)

Charles J. Anderson of Westbury is one of
(Credit: Handout)

Charles J. Anderson of Westbury is one of a handful of the Montford Point Marines living on Long Island. In 2012, the Montford Point Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. This photo of Charles J. Anderson in uniform was taken in 1944. (May 1, 2013)

Robert Harding, 84, of Roosevelt, served with the
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Robert Harding, 84, of Roosevelt, served with the Montford Point Marines. (May 1, 2013)

Richard P. Warren, 86, of Roosevelt, served with
(Credit: Chris Ware)

Richard P. Warren, 86, of Roosevelt, served with the Montford Point Marines. (May 1, 2013)

In this undated image provided by Carrel Reavis,
(Credit: AP )

In this undated image provided by Carrel Reavis, Reavis, right, is seen with two other Marines in uniform. Hostility against them was palpable early on.

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In this undated photo, Cleo Florence, 88, is
(Credit: MCT )

In this undated photo, Cleo Florence, 88, is one of the surviving members of the Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the Marines. He is seen here, top center with face circled, with his division that served in Guam during WW II. Only about 120 of the nearly 20,000 African Americans who trained at the segregated Montford Point in Camp Lejeune are still alive. Florence was stationed in Guam from 1943-46.

Cleo Florence, 88, is one of the surviving
(Credit: MCT )

Cleo Florence, 88, is one of the surviving members of the Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the Marines. He is seen here serving in Guam during WW II.

In this undated composite image provided by George
(Credit: AP )

In this undated composite image provided by George Mitchell, Mitchell is seen at left alongside an image of his uncle who fought for the Army in WWI. Nearly 70 years after the Marine Corps, the last military branch to racially integrate, accepted segregated black units, the Marine Corps' top general is pushing to honor the history of the Montford Point Marines.

Robert Harding of Roosevelt is one of a
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Robert Harding of Roosevelt is one of a handful of the Montford Point Marines living on Long Island who were African Americans who endured discrimination and prejudice in the Marines. (May 1, 2013)

Charles J. Anderson of Westbury is one of
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Charles J. Anderson of Westbury is one of a handful of the Montford Point Marines living on Long Island, enduring discrimination and prejudice while in the Marines. (May 1, 2013)

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Vincent Long of Hempstead was a member of
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Vincent Long of Hempstead was a member of the legendary Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the US Marine Corps. . (April 11, 2013)

Richard P. Warren, of Roosevelt, at his home.
(Credit: Chris Ware)

Richard P. Warren, of Roosevelt, at his home. Warren served in the US Marine Corps at Montford Point Camp in 1945 and after. Warren, was among many African Americans who were discriminated against. In 2012, he and other Marines were awarded for their time in service with the Congressional Gold Medal. (May 1, 2013)

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