First Black Members of US Marine Corps to Lead Oceanside Independence Day …
OCEANSIDE (CNS) – Two of the first black members of the U.S. Marine Corps will share grand marshal duties in Oceanside’s 19th annual Independence Day Parade Wednesday.
Oscar Culp and George Mitchell, both 87, were two of 20,000 Marines who went through boot camp at swampy and mosquito-infested Montford Point, N.C., between 1942, when the Marines was ordered to admit black members, and 1949.
“It was like hell almost, really,” Culp said about the camp next to Camp Lejeune. “The water was terrible — it smelled.”
The men, who run a furniture store in Oceanside, were among 400 ex-Montford Point Marines honored with a Congressional Gold Medal Thursday at the Marine barracks near the Capitol.
Many of the Marines trained at Montford Point served in supporting roles in World War II but, according to their official website — montfordpointmarines.com — those who remained in uniform were rushed to defend South Korea in 1950, and their performance led to an order the next year to integrate units in the service.
The parade is scheduled to step off at 10 a.m., on a route along Coast Highway, from Wisconsin Avenue to Civic Center Drive.
Other parades are scheduled for:
– Coronado, the 64th annual event is set for 10 a.m. along Orange Avenue from First Street to Churchill Place;
– Julian, beginning at noon at Julian High School and continuing along Main Street to Frank Lane Park;
– Mira Mesa, at 11:30 a.m., along Mira Mesa Boulevard between Mira Mesa Mall and Mira Mesa Community Park;
– Rancho Bernardo, at 3:30 p.m., starting at Acena and Lomica drives; and
– Scripps Ranch, at 10 a.m., beginning at Ironwood Road and Red Cedar Drive.
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