Honoring Marine Master Sergeant Elbert Lesterby Representative Bennie G. Thompson
Posted on 2013-02-28
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. I rise to recognize a remarkable
veteran, Marine Master Sergeant Elbert Lester. On Friday, November 2,
2012 Marine Master Sergeant Elbert Lester, now eighty-seven years of
age, was awarded the Muntford Point Marines' Congressional Gold Medal,
the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress for distinguished
The Munford Point Marines were the first African-Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps in 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Fair Employment Practices Commission, ultimately forcing the Corps to recruit blacks. When asked, ``Why did you choose the Marine Corps?'' he replied ``They decided that for me.'' He then explained while at the Army recruiting station, the black company was asked for volunteers to go into the Marines. No one did. ``So, they put our names in a hat and my name was one of those that were pulled. I was one of the unlucky ones.'' Elbert Lester was assigned to the 27th Depot Company as a Corporal and would leave the service as Master Sergeant. Following training, his unit was put aboard a ship in Norfolk, VA to Guadalcanal, a thirty-day voyage that would begin his time of service in the South Pacific. Most of the 19,000 black Marines trained at Munford Point were assigned to ammunition and depot companies, bring ammunition and supplies to the front lines, and returning wounded and dead to transport ships.
After the war, he returned to Quitman County, Mississippi where he married his childhood sweetheart Pearline Williams. They have thirteen children: Frank, Teresia, Pearlie Mae, Elbert Jr., Patricia, Lacresia, Napoleon, Miranda, Alberta, Timothy, Roderick, Darius, Cornelius and three adopted: Waring, Tiffany and Kikera Brown. Mr. and Mrs. Lester have been married for 65 years and live on their 80-acre farm. They attend Woodland Missionary Baptist Church, where they both sing in the choir.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing Monford Point Marine Master Sergeant Elbert Lester for his sacrifices in promoting democracy around the world and the United States of America.
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