Reflections on Veterans Day, 2002
By Mackubin Thomas Owens
Posted November 11, 2002
Master Gunnery Sergeant Rogers was one of the most remarkable Marines with whom I ever had the honor to serve. He was a "Montford Point Marine," named after the base in North Carolina where African-Americans who enlisted during World War II and served in all-black units in the segregated Marine Corps of the era, mostly in combat service support jobs, were trained. One of his first assignments was to help transport the bodies of dead Marines back across the beaches of Okinawa during the ferocious battle for that island in 1945. As distasteful as his early experiences may have been, he persevered, the Marines were the first service to integrate in the early 1950s, and Master Gunny Rogers had a long and distinguished career in the Marine Corps, lasting well into the 1970s.