Earl H. Phillips – Colonel, United States Marine Corps

June 1942:

Black Marine Units were established at Montford Point North Carolina. Recruit training was undertaken at this post. These Marines were assigned to segregated units, Ammo Companies and Depot Labor Companies and two Defense Battalions, the 51st & 52nd, led by white officers.  The first black Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor was Private First Class James Anderson Jr. of Compton California, for action in Vietnam on Feb 28 1967. This Marine gave his life rotecting others in his unit from an enemy grenade.

A Depot Special Bulletin #1-44 dated 28 July 19443 references an article printed in Time Magazine on 24 July, 1944.

“…Last week, as a footnote to the invasion of Saipan, Time correspondent Robert Sherrod wrote about the first to see action: Negro Marines, under fire for the first time, have rated a universal 4.0 (Annapolis mark of perfection) on Saipan.

Some landed with the assault waves. All in the four service companies have been under fire at one time or another during the battle. Some have have been wounded, several of them have been killed in action. ‘COOL IN COMBAT'

When Japs counterattacked the 4th Marine Division near Charan Kanoa, twelve Negroes were thrown into the line. Their white officers said they accounted for about 15 Japs….They were under intense mortar fire and artillery fire as well as rifle and machine gun fire. They kept advancing until the counter attack was stopped. Negro Marines were at their best while performing their normal duties. Credited with being the workingest men on Saipan, they performed prodigious feats of labor both while under fire and after beachheads were well secured. Some unloaded boats for three days with little or no sleep, working in water waist deep….On an open transport, where a detachment of Negroes was left to load small boats, they volunteered to unload and tend the wounded who were brought to the transport….” 2. To the 18th, 19th, and 20th Depot Companies and the 3rd Ammunition Company, congratulations from their Commanding Officer. Well Done.” Signed Earl H Phillips Col. USMC Commanding.”


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