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1st African-American Marines honored by Congress

During World War II thousands of African-Americans  joined the Marines. Among the first were the Montford Point Marines, named for the segregated Marine Corps training camp at Camp Lejeune in the 1940s. Now Congress will honor those African-Americans that broke the color barrier to fight for their country. The Herald Sun reports that of the 426 surviving members, 100 will attend the event. Gunnery Sgt. Mack Haynes Sr. will be one of those honored, he joined when he was just 17.

It’s been more than a decade since the alarm was sounded about the rate of World War II veterans dying at about 1,000 a day. The National World War II Memorial was completed, and many veterans have visited it, though many more died before the monument even broke ground. Yet WWII veterans are still here, many of them who entered the military as teenagers.

Gunnery Sgt. Mack Haynes Sr. joined the U.S. Marine Corps when he was just 17 years old. His distinction is more than the war in which he served, but also the color barrier he and thousands of other African-American Marines broke during World War II. Haynes is a Montford Point Marine, named for the segregated Marine Corps training camp at Camp Lejeune in the 1940s.

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