A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective

Marines are defenders of the republic and the Constitution. That is our oath, that is our purpose, that is our calling. Many are Democrats. This is the journal of one such Marine. This leatherneck's progressive perspective is as follows...

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Location: Southwest, United States

U.S. Marine,0300 MOS,eight years in,honorably discharged,college-educated. To all the damned trolls, you better believe there are liberal Marines. Read "War Is A Racket" by 2-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj.Gen.S.D.Butler, plus Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s "Fortunate Son" and maybe then you'll understand. Semper Fi!

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Onward and Into Legend-dom: Captain Frederick C. Branch, First African-American Marine Corps Officer Posted by Hello
Morning to all. Can't say that this is a good morning due to the sad news I learned over the weekend and will now post for all of you. Heard from a Marine officer friend of mine (who emailed me the information) that Captain Frederick C. Branch, the first African-American to become a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, passed away Sunday, April 10 2005 at the age of 82. The photo above is of his actual commissioning as a second lieutenant in 1945 (Quantico, Virginia) and the "pinning on" by his wife, Camilla "Peggy" Branch. When I heard the news of his passing, I was stunned. In fact, I'm still stunned, speechless and really don't know what to say that would possibly do justice to the life and accomplishments of this great Marine. More information can be found at the website of the Montford Point Marine Association at http://www.montfordpointmarines.com/ (f.y.i., Montford Point Marines were the first enlisted African-American Marines to be officially allowed in the organization. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the creation and implementation of African-American Marines in 1942. They were called "Montford Point" Marines because they were trained in segregated units at Montford Point Camp/New River, North Carolina which is now a part of Camp Lejeune, home of the 2nd Marine Division). In fact, here's the post from the Montford Point Marine Association website:

April 14, 2005
Marine Corps African American trailblazer dies at 82

The first African American commissioned officer in the US Marine Corps, Frederick C. Branch, died Sunday in Philadelphia at the age of 82. Drafted into the Marine Corps in 1943 Branch went to boot camp at Montford Point Camp, N.C., today known as Camp Johnson. Montford Camp was a segregated Marine Corps training facility near Jacksonville, created in 1942 to train African American Marines. Branch served with the 51st Defense Battalion in the South Pacific. On November 10, 1945, the 170th birthday of the Marine Corps, Branch was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant becoming the first African American to graduate from Marine Corps officer training. Though a reserve officer Branch served on active duty and was a battery commander with an anti-aircraft unit at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Frederick Branch rose to the rank of Capt. before leaving the service in 1952.
In November 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of his commissioning, Senate Resolution 195 honored Branch for his contributions in the face of racial segregation. More recently, the city of Philadelphia honored Branch at the annual NAACP convention with a proclamation from the Mayor of Philadelphia to honor his service and recognize him as a pioneer. A Congressional Resolution submitted for consideration in February commemorates the service to the Nation during World War II of the African American members of the US Marine Corps like Branch, who came to be known as the Montford Point Marines. The Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. is a nonprofit Veteran's organization, established to perpetuate the legacy of the first African Americans who entered the United States Marine Corps from 1942 to 1949, at Montford Point Camp, North Carolina. The Association has 28 Chapters nationwide.

This is a great, great loss to be sure, not only for the Corps but for the entire nation as a whole. To get some idea and appreciation of the significance of Captain Branch's feat, you must understand that the United States Marine Corps was established on 10 November 1775 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although African-Americans have ALWAYS (for the most part) served in the Marine Corps (officially and unofficially), it wasn't until 10 November 1945, or 170 years after the creation of the Marine Corps, that an African-American was allowed to become an officer in the Corps. Again...almost 200 years after the establishment of the Marine Corps. See, the Navy and the Marine Corps (since the Corps is actually within the Department of the Navy) have always been the "drag-asses" when it comes to racial equality and/or any semblance of integration (hey, let's tell it like it is...or like it was), especially when compared to the Army (first African-American Army officer, Henry O. Flipper, commissioned in 1877. U.S. Army established June 14, 1775 and first African-American made officer in 1877, or 102 years after Army's creation. More at http://www.africanamericans.com/HenryFlipper.htm). As previously stated, Captain Branch's departure from the mortal stage is a true loss not only for the Corps but for this American nation as a whole. I remember when I was at OCS and how the building across from where candidates got their haircuts had been recently renamed Branch Hall, after Captain Branch. Wow, I can't believe he's gone. Captain Branch's accomplishments, by becoming the first African-American Marine officer, inspired and paved the way for so many other minority officers (both in the Marines and in other branches, but especially for minoriy officers in the Corps) to serve their country with strength, honor and conviction in peace and in war...a true gift to the American people. And, as a sidenote, I don't think there is any coincidence that Captain Branch passed into glory via Philadelphia...the birthplace of the Marine Corps. In short, Captain Branch was a "Marine's Marine" and he will be greatly missed. Farewell and Semper Fi, Captain Branch...may you have fair winds and following seas. Semper Fidelis


Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

Why can't pioneers like Capt. Branch be a part of AOL's Greatest American vote? If life were fair, he'd be among the numerous African-American activists. Overall, an excellent tribute to a real hero.

Additionally, let me say that I find this blog refreshing. It's good to see that while the military might function as one unit, it nevertheless compises diverse viewpoints.

6:31 PM  

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