Greensboro, NC -- People have heard of the Tuskeegee Airman, the Buffalo Soldiers, and the Golden 13 all of them known as pioneers in military history. Not as well know but as equally important is the Montford Point Marines.
Sunday, a Greensboro native and retired Montford Point Marine was recognized for his service with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Joseph G. Dungee enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1946 when it was segregated. He was sent to boot camp at Montford Point, N.C., which was the only facility that trained African-American Marines.
"I've always felt special to be called a Marine, but to be called a Montford Point Marine is extra special," says Dungee.
In 1949, manpower shortages during the Korean War brought about desegregation for the Marines. Dungee earned five Korean War battle stars during his tour of duty.
For 20 years, Dungee served as a Marine. He was honorably discharged in 1966 as a staff sergeant. But he continued to serve his country and community on the home front.
After retiring from the military Dungee was a bus driver for the city for 20 years and retired from Duke Energy in 1986. He is the founding member of the Greensboro Detachment of the Marine Corps League and served several years as its commandant.
Montford Point Marines have more than earned the respect of a grateful nation and of Congress. In a rare act of bipartisanship the House recently voted 422-0 to award these deserving Marines the Congressional Gold Medal. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor given by Congress.
Dungee was unable to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C. to recieve his medal. A special ceremony was held for Dungee at the Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Greensboro, where he and his wife are members. Marines from Camp Lejeune were on hand to preform the honors and to present Joseph G. Dungee with his medal.