Living History: Albany resident served as Montford Point Marine - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Living History: Albany resident served as Montford Point Marine

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Henry Jackson is retired now, but in the 1940s, at just 17-years-old, he was eager to serve his country.

He says at that time, the Marine Corps was heavily recruiting in Albany, as they tried to enlist 20,000 African Americans. 

They would later become known as the Montford Point Marines, the first group of blacks ever to serve in the Marine Corps.

"We knew there was segregation, but I knew where I was supposed to be at all times. The things I was supposed to do and not get anything started like they did in later years. I didn't even know about segregation in the military. I just went in because I knew it was going to be an all black unit, I expected that," says Henry Jackson, a Montford Point Marine.

While most Marines attended basic training in California, this new group of black recruits were sent to North Carolina. A separate training base just for them.

"I went in 1946 and they opened that base up in 1942, so they had all that already prepared waiting to get those 20 thousand black marines signed up, because between 1942 and 1949, it was mandated that 20,000 blacks be enlisted in the Marine Corps," says Jackson.

Just a few years ago, Congress honored the Montford Point Marines with the Congressional Medal of honor. Only 510 showed to receive their medals.

"The rest of them they couldn't find them or they got killed in the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or all those other wars they were fighting at that time," he says.

After Jackson's service in the Marine Corps, he went back to school, and later joined the Air force where he retired as a Master Sergeant.

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