Tuesday, September 24, 2019

CWO Carmen E. Cole: First Woman President of the National Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.

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CWO Carmen E. Cole with Immediate Past National President Forest E. Spencer, Jr.
 (photo courtesy of Joe Geeter)

Chief Warrant Officer Carmen E. Cole made history again after being elected as the 19th National President of the Montford Point Marine Association, August, 2019. According to Joe Geeter, past president, spokesperson and former Master Gunnery Sergeant at U. S. Marine Corps, “Carmen will play this down but she is the first woman to lead our Association in our 54 year history and I'm confident that she will lead us into the next level of prominence.” She is a member of the Montford Point Marine Association Quantico Chapter 32 and was president of her chapter.

The Montford Point Marine Association (MPMA) is a nonprofit military veterans’ organization, founded to memorialize the legacy of the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. In June 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order establishing the Fair Employment Practices Commission. This Executive Order helped prevent discriminatory employment practices against African Americans in defense and government jobs. The first African American U.S. Marines were trained at Camp Montford Point, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, from 1942 to 1949. Approximately, 2000 African American Marines saw action during WWII in the seizure of Okinawa. MPMA supports educational assistance programs, veterans programs, and community services, with an emphasis on improving the social conditions of the growing population of military veterans who are disabled or senior citizens.

CWO Cole is listed in the Black American Military Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary by Walter L. Hawkins. She first made history on February 1, 1993 when she was promoted to Warrant Officer, making her the first African American Warrant Officer in the United States Marine Corps, Motor Transport Maintenance Field. Her promotion to Chief Warrant Officer Two and Three were also first in the United States Marine Corps, Motor Transport Maintenance Field. She retired a Chief Warrant Officer Three on May 1, 2001. About her recent election, CWO Cole stated, “You’re never quite sure what your calling is, you just have to know when to answer, and I did. My passion for the Montford Point Marines and many of their blessings brought me to this historic moment. Thank you to the Montford Point Marines and members for believing and trusting in me to lead this great Association.”

Carmen has roots in Winston County as the daughter of the late Claudell Weaver who was very active in community and education. She is the granddaughter of the late Betsy Ann Eichelberger and the niece of this writer. She has one child – Claudia Cole.


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