Montford Point: a USMC Legacy

Montford Point Camp, now called Camp Johnson, is located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Approximately twenty thousand Marines were trained at Montford Point between 1942 – 1949. All of them were African-American men. (The military services were still segregated then.) Among them, Dave Culmer, NVF Board of Directors member of long standing and a Veteran Services Officer for many years.

Montford Point Marines served with honor in the Pacific in three of the bloodiest battles: Iwo Jima, Saipan and Okinawa. Many went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam. They carried their strength of character and indomitable spirit forward into their lives as community leaders, Mayors, Ambassadors, lawyers, doctors, educators and ministers. They were the pioneers, paving the way for generations of men and women of African-American heritage. Theirs is a formidable legacy and a story worth telling. Currently two film projects are in the works.

The National Montford Point Marine Association inducted NVF Board Member Dave Culmer into their Hall of Fame in 2018 for his commitment to the NMPMA through community volunteerism. The LA Chapter is active in the Toys for Tots programs and offers scholarships to Marine Corps Jr. ROTC programs.

Culmer, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1949, has the distinction of being a member of the last Platoon to attend basic training at Montford Point. Mr. Culmer retired from the Corps 1972 after serving 23 years at various billets including Cherry Point, Okinawa, Vietnam and Thailand.

Since retiring from the Corps, Mr. Culmer has served veterans with the Department of Veterans Affairs for 22 years in numerous capacities. He is also the past Chairman of the Los Angeles County Veterans Advisory Commission; former Service Director for the American Legion of the Los Angeles County Council; and member of the Greater Los Angeles Mental Health Consumer Advocacy Council.

For callers on our Lifeline for Vets hotline, he’s an invaluable resource. He’s probably the finest Veteran Services Officer out there. He’s spent his life serving his country and serving fellow Vets. We’re so proud to have him on our team.

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