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90-year-old black Marine receives Congressional Gold Medal

… seven decades after military service

There was a time in our nation’s history when black Americans in the military were trained in separate facilities from whites.

Cpl. John Willie Jordan was one of them. In fact, he was among nearly 20,000 black troops that trained at Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C., between 1942 and 1949.

On May 18, the 90-year-old veteran received the highest civilian honor given by Congress. It was presented to him by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.

Jordan joined the Marine Corps in 1944. After his training, he served in Hawaii during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to Flint, Mich., where he worked at General Motors and Chevrolet plants for six years before moving to Detroit and working at the Cadillac Motor Division for 25 years.

“Our nation is better, stronger and safer because of Mr. Jordan’s service and the Montford Point Marines,” said Peters, a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, in a news release from his office.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.