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World War II Veteran to Receive Congressional Gold Medal
CINCINNATI, Ohio (Angela Ingram) -- A local World War II Veteran is receiving an honor from Congress.
96-year-old G. Robert Smith was one of hundreds of Marines trained at Montford Point. They were the first black marines since the American Revolution.
Smith says blacks who served in the armed forces during WWII helped break down barriers in the military. He proudly puts on his Marine baseball cap. A hat that few have earned the right to wear.
Smith served during World War II when the military was segregated. He was drafted and sent to Montford Point, a facility at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Because of his background, Smith played the glockenspiel in the marching band. He says fellow Marine and singer Bobby Troup was one of the few white Marines who would associate with blacks.
After the military, Smith formed a band. And later married his wife, Wanda. But, he never forgot how the Montford Point Marines were not recognized for their contribution.
Now, at 96-years-old, Smith is receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.
This Sunday members of his church, Kennedy Heights Presbyterian, will host the celebration. Roughly 400 Montford Point Marines received the medals. It took officials awhile to track down Smith because he relocated several times.
For Smith, the award shows that Congress recognized the first black Marines made a difference in the war.
The ceremony for Smith is Sunday at Kennedy Heights Presbyterian Church on Kennedy Ave. It starts at 11:45 immediately after service and the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.