Montford Point Marines Honored and Buried > U.S. Marine Corps Flagship > Display News

Montford Point Marines Honored and Buried > U.S. Marine Corps Flagship > Display News

On the mornings of February 5 and 8, 2024, two members of the Montford Point Marine Corps, Brigadier General Albert Bryant Sr. and Army Maj. Gen. John Henry Cheney was buried. Bryant is buried in Plot 7-A of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, along with American legends such as Joe Louis and James Doolittle, while Cheney is buried at John Wesley United Methodist Church in Clarksburg, Maryland. He was buried next to his wife in the cemetery.

Bryant and Cheney were both drafted into the military in 1943 and began their service at Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Both men became members of the legendary Montford Point Marine Corps, the first black Americans to earn the title of United States Marine.

From 1942 to 1949, 19,168 Black Marines trained at Montford Point, and approximately 13,000 of them fought in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Montford Point Marine companies fought on Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Peleliu, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima. The Montford Point Marines were so effective in their first battle that Lt. Gen. Alexander Vandegrift, the Marine Corps commander at the time, said: They’re Marines, duh. ” Both Bryant and Cheney took part in the disastrous Battle of Iwo Jima and witnessed the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi.

“I would not have become a general without (Bryant’s) accomplishments.” Brigadier General Melvin Carter, Deputy Director of Computer Network Operations, National Security Agency

After the war, Bryant attended Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and became a pharmacist. He continued his military service as an officer in the Army Reserve and was promoted to brigadier general, the highest rank a Montford Point Marine can reach.

After returning from the Pacific Ocean, Cheney worked as a bricklayer until 1953, then with the State Highway Administration. Additionally, he started a business called Cheney & Sons Refuse Trash Company, which he ran until selling the company in 1974. After selling his business and retiring from the State Highway Administration, Cheney devoted his time to playing basketball, spending time with his family, and working. He was devoted to his local church as an usher and choir member.

On June 28, 2012, Cheney, Bryant, and 366 other former Montford Point Marines received the Congressional Gold Medal from members of Congress and Marine Corps leaders.

Iwo Jima Montford Point Marine veteran buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Lance Corporal Joseph DeMarcus.

Brigadier General Melvin G. Carter, deputy chief of computer network operations at the National Security Agency, presents Mable Bryant with an American flag after her husband, U.S. Army Brigadier General Mable Bryant, attends her funeral. Gen. Albert Bryant at Arlington National Cemetery on February 5, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. Bryant began his military career at Montford Point, North Carolina, and earned his rank as a Marine in 1943. While in the Marine Corps, Bryant served in World War II. II Including the Battle of Iwo Jima. After joining the Marine Corps, Bryant continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserve and was promoted to brigadier general, the highest rank a Montford Point Marine can reach. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Joseph E. DeMarcus)

Cheney and Bryant were buried surrounded by hundreds of family members, friends, and active and retired Marines. Brigadier General Melvin Carter, deputy director of computer network operations for the National Security Agency, attended Bryant’s funeral and praised people like Bryant and Cheney for paving the way for all black Americans to serve.

“I would not have become a general without (Bryant’s) accomplishments,” Carter said.

Bryant is survived by his wife of 75 years, five children, and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

104-year-old Montford Point Marine, World War II veteran buried
Photo by Sergeant Kelsey Dornfeld.

Deidre Freeman, who serves as administrator along with U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Lt. Frederick, presents an American flag to Mary Cheney, daughter of Pfc. John Henry Cheney during burial at John Wesley United Methodist Church Cemetery on February 8, 2024 in Clarksburg, Maryland. Cheney was drafted into the Marine Corps in 1943 and became a member of the legendary Montford Point Marine Corps, the first black American to do so. win the title. Cheney served in World War II and fought in the brutal Battle of Iwo Jima. In 2012, Cheney and other Montford Point Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Kelsey Dornfeld)

Cheney is survived by his sister, 12 children, 35 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

“He was very proud of his service,” said Mary Cheney, daughter of John Henry Cheney. “He was so happy to be in that situation because it helped him grow and help him learn how to treat people no matter how they treated him. is.”

The Montford Point Marines are honored and remembered for their role in the desegregation of the Marine Corps, their brave service during operations in the Pacific, and their contributions to promoting equality throughout American society.

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