Gold medal to be given to Marine's family
Sun, 01/26/2014 - 3:18am Mark Potter
A Congressional Gold Medal to honor the memory of a man who was among the first black U.S. Marines will be presented Feb. 3.
The ceremony will be at 3:30 p.m at the Fort Sill Patriot Club. The medal will be presented to the family of Rudolph Phillips by Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fort Sill commander.
Rudolph Phillips, the father of Lawtonian Johnny Phillips, was a private first class in the Marine Corps during the last days of World War II. He was drafted and inducted into the Marines at 17. He served in a segregated unit at Motford Point before being sent to Saipan in April of 1946. He was discharged from the Marines in 1947 and returned to his hometown of Decatur, Ill. He then began a career working for a company that manufactured bomb parts.
The elder Phillips, who died in 1988, was drafted into the Marines at age 17 in August 1945 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he completed basic training and then served in a segregated unit at Motford Point before being sent to Saipan in April of 1946.
Blacks were not admitted to the Marine Corps until 1942; from 1942 to 1949, more than 20,000 African American Marines were trained at the segregated training facility, Camp Montford Point, at Camp Lejeune. In 2011 Congress authorized a Congressional Gold Medal for the Camp Montford Point Marines; bronze duplicates are authorized for living veterans and families of deceased veterans.