The Orlando Sentinel reported John Steele, former Pensacola busboy who enlisted in the marines as teenager in 1945, receive one of the nation’s highest civilian awards – Congressional Gold Medal. Steel, now 87 and living in Daytona Beach, is one of a group of Black Marines honored for their service in World War II.
Steele, like the 20,000 or so other black Americans who joined the Marines from 1942 to 1949, was sent to Camp Montford Point, a segregated training camp near Jacksonville, N.C. Of those men, more than 13,000 ended up in all-black units overseas during World War II, only to return home to face more segregation, limited job prospects and racial inequality.
Last June, the Marine Corps presented medals to more than 400 Montford Point Marines for their service. Steele was not able to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C. So Saturday, August 25, the Marine Corps presented Steele with his Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony at the Daytona Beach Golf Club.