A Germantown resident has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor for his military service during World War II.
Earl Guydon, 88, was part of the first class of blacks to serve in the Marine Corps after President Franklin Roosevelt desegregated the branch in 1941.
As nearly 20,000 black Marines would between 1942 and 1949, Guydon trained at Montford Point, a North-Carolina-based facility built exclusively for blacks.
It was a less-than-pleasant experience for the 19-year-old draftee from Arkansas, who was sent to fight in Japan soon after his stint at Montford.
“We were a well-kept secret,” said Guydon. “It kind of left a bitter taste in my mouth.”
So much so, that he never looked fondly upon his military service until he received his medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during a ceremony last Wednesday in Washington. Congress recognized a total of 368 Montfort Point Marines with the award.
It was an emotional moment for the West Duval Street resident. Never in his wildest fantasies did he ever imagine he would be honored in such a way.
“I was almost brought to tears on a couple of occassions,” said Guydon of receiving the medal. “Nothing like this ever crossed my mind.”