12/15/13 — Goldsboro resident earns Congressional Gold Medal for service

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Goldsboro resident earns Congressional Gold Medal for service

By From staff reports
Published in News on December 15, 2013 1:50 AM

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James Swinson

James Swinson, 88, of Goldsboro, recently received the Congressional Gold Medal for his service with the Montford Marines in World War II.

He was one of more than 20,000 black men who were trained as Marines from 1942 until 1949 at the Montford Point Camp in Jacksonville.

On Nov. 23, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill to award medals to the Marines who were trained there because of the racial issues still prevalent at the time.

About 200 of the Marines who trained at Montford are still alive.

"I feel good," said Swinson, who enlisted in 1942. "I feel like I should have had one long beforehand. I mean, I got out in 1946, but after all these years, it's nice to have this."

His granddaughter, Mya, 12, said she was proud of what her grandfather had accomplished.

"I'm very glad he served for the country and he's my hero," she said. "He always told me to be respectful,  honest and keep my grades high."

Swinson was honored along with another Montford Marine, Charles Moore, 84, of Kinston.

Houston Shinal, national monument director of the Montford Marines memorial project, said it is important to recognize the Marines and to keep their legacy alive.

"This ceremony was significant because it finally placed these two African-Americans in their rightful place in the Marines and in American history," he said. "We're able to give credit where credit is due."