In the NCIS episode titled “Namesake,” the episode followed a botched military helicopter sale and the side story where we meet the man that Leroy Jethro Gibbs was named after. A man who had received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his part in the Montford Point Marines.
The episode was dedicated to the Montford Point Marines.
The Montford Point Marines were the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. They were trained at Camp Montford Point, which is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
They were trained there from 1942 to ’49.
The Montford Point Marines came about due to excessive prejudice suffered by black people who were looking for jobs in the lucratively growing defense industry in 1940.
Black leaders such as A. Philip Randolph met with President Roosevelt to request that he execute an executive order to ban discrimination against black people in the defense industry. This included the armed services.
Thousands showed up, willing to serve their country and the first recruits were sent to Camp Montford Point.
The first African American noted as having joined was Gilbert “Hashmark” Johnson, who later became a drill instructor.
Despite the executive order, racism still existed. The camp was split by railroad tracks, and the black recruits were restricted to a specific side. This prompted a new executive order in 1948 from President Truman, which required desegregation of the military.
(What a sad piece of our history.)
Here are 2 resources that explain it better than I do…