Oakland Press: Senator honors Farmington Hills Marine, calls him ‘trailblazer’ in race relations

The Marines who trained at Canp Montford Point in North Carolina during World War II slept in temporary huts. They drove on dirt ruts.

The Montford Point Marines were among the first African-Americans to serve in that branch of the military.

Their white counterparts at nearby Camp Lejeune had permanent barracks and paved roads. Their training hours were shorter.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters wished to express the nation’s thanks to John Jordan, 90, a Farmington Hills resident and Montford Point Marine, and presented him the World War II Victory Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.

Peters called Jordan and the other Montford Point Marines “trailblazers” who worked to break down racial barriers almost 20 years before Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

“They were ready to serve a country that didn’t yet appreciate them,” Peters said in a ceremony at the Groves-Walker American Legion Post in Farmington.

Jordan recalled that black soldiers were often given menial tasks during the war and faced obstacles to promotion.

He appreciated Peters’ efforts to honor him for his service.

“It’s phenomenal. I never expected anything like this,” he said.

Jordan’s family contacted the senator to inquire about honors that could be bestowed on him.

His son, Tracy Jordan of Detroit, and daughter, Beverly Jordan-Murphy, of Connecticut, wiped away tears at Monday’s ceremony.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for anything,” Jordan-Murphy said.

By:  Anne Runkle
Source: Oakland Press