Watch: ‘Bullets Don’t Have No Color’ — Montford Point Marine Recalls Defeating Racism, Tyranny in World War II

February 20, 2021Ethan E. Rocke
Marines training at Camp Montford Point.

Marines training at Camp Montford Point. Screenshot from YouTube.

“Bullets don’t have no color,” says Master Gunnery Sgt. John Spencer, recalling the history of the Black Marines who blazed a path toward equal treatment long before President Harry Truman desegregated the US military in 1948.

Spencer is one of the legendary Black Americans who enlisted in the Marine Corps and trained at Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order establishing the Fair Employment Practices Committee in June 1941.

“You were in the South in an outfit that didn’t believe that you could cut it, and they did everything in the world to make you say that I’m going to quit and I don’t want this Marine Corps,” Spencer says in a recent Marine Corps video. “Well, we had made up our minds that we wanted the Marine Corps, and that’s what we did.”

Camp Montford Point operated from Aug. 26, 1942, until the camp was decommissioned Sept. 9, 1949, according to the National Montford Point Marine Association.

“You had two Marine Corps at that time,” Spencer says. “You had the Marine Corps that was for the African American Marines, and you had the regular Marine Corps for the regular Marines. We were outsiders, and we were trying to break the color barrier, get into the fight with what we felt was the best fighting force the United States had, and we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were good enough to be one of them.”

The Montford Point Marines proved themselves in combat during the Pacific island-hopping campaigns of World War II, and the largest number of Black Marines to serve in combat during the war took part in the seizure of Okinawa.

With their blood, sweat, and tears, the Marines of Montford Point defeated the racist stereotypes that said Black men were not equal to whites and paved the way for future generations of Marine warriors.

Spencer’s story is one of many inspiring tales from these incredible, trailblazing warriors.

Ethan E. Rocke
Ethan E. Rocke

Ethan E. Rocke is a contributor and former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He is a veteran of the US Army and Marine Corps. His work has been published in Maxim Magazine, American Legion Magazine, and many others. He is co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Soflete: How This Veteran-Led Company is Changing Military Fitness Culture

In 2014, Soflete’s co-founders saw workout overkill hurting their peers as they prepared for selecti...

glock 19
Glock 19: Origin Story of a Legendary Pistol

Get to know the Glock 19 — how it works, who uses it, and why it’s one of the most popular handguns in the US.

afghan soldier asylum
Afghan Soldier Who Helped US Weathers Injuries, Uncertainty in Asylum Bid

Afghan soldier who assisted the U.S. now faces uncertainty in bid for asylum.

The Dirty Dozen
‘The Dirty Dozen’: Meet D-Day’s Real Rogue Commandos

The Dirty Dozen was based on a real team of rule-breaking elite paratroopers who jumped into France ahead of D-Day.

d-day 79th anniversary
Normandy Marks D-Day's 79th Anniversary, Honors World War II Veterans

This year's D-Day tribute to the young soldiers who died in Normandy is not only a chance to honor t...

f-22 raptor
The F-22: The Superiority Fighter That Never Shot Down an Enemy Plane

The F-22 Raptor was designed to fight next-gen Russian fighters. So far its only air-to-air kills are a Chinese balloon and a UFO.

Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway: Where America's March to Victory Began

The US Navy outwitted and outfought the Imperial Japanese Navy to secure victory in the do-or-die Battle of Midway.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved