In Bend on Thursday a World War 2 veteran will be honored in a special ceremony at Stone Lodge.
Jonathan West will get the Congressional Gold Medal for his role in a segregated black unit that worked on damaged war equipment by day and fought off the Japanese by night. The Japanese continually tried to retake the island. Local veteran Lyle Hicks says the Montford Point Marines made a big difference in the war effort.
Hicks spoke to KBND news on Tuesday morning.
"SO EARLIER ON THIS YEAR CONGRESS AWARDED THEM A UNIT AWARD- THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL - WHICH IS A REALLY BIG SOLID GOLD MEDAL -JONATHAN WASN'T ABLE TO GET BACK TO WASHINGTON D.C. TO DO THAT SO WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT HE GETS HIS AWARD IN A PROPER CEREMONY AT STONE LODGE."
It is believed that 420 members of the unit are still living- news reports say about 370 were present at the congressional ceremony in Washington DC on June 27th.
Hicks further explains the tough job the Montford Point Marines had to pull off.
"AND THeir JOB WAS TO WORK ON EQUIPMENT THAT WAS BROKEN DOWN AND SEND it OUT DURING THE DAY - BUT AT NIGHT THEY HAD TO REPEL THE JAPANISE FORCES THAT WERE TRYING TO TAKE THE ISLAND BACK - SO THEY DIDN'T GET A WHOLE LOT OF REST - SO THEY DID AN EXCELLent JOB AND WERE A GREAT PART OF THE WAR EFFORT."
The unit was among the first wave of black men recruited or drafted into the Marines, and it was named after the segregated boot camp in North Carolina.
The ceremony at Stone Lodge is scheduled for 10 a.m.