Frank Johnson Receives Congressional Gold Medal
A local hero receives one of the highest honors from the military on Tuesday at Macon City Hall.
Unionville's Frank Johnson, 85, received a standing ovation as he finally received his Congressional Gold Medial.
"I'm very happy to get it," Johnson said.
In June, nearly 20,000 Montford Point Marines were recognized by President Obama for their service at the segregated Montford Point Camp in North Carolina during World War II.
Johnson, who is recovering from a stroke in 2000, was unable to go to the ceremony in Washington. However, his wife said he is happy now to be recognized for his contributions.
"It's joy to see him happy,” wife Dorothy Johnson said. “It's a joy because his happiness makes me happy.”
African Americans couldn't serve in the marines until President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a presidential directive in 1942. This gave African Americans an opportunity to be recruited in to the United States Marine Corps. Montford Point at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was their training ground.
Approximately 20,000 African American Marines received their basic training there between 1942 and 1949. Johnson’s wife, Dorothy said his time there shaped him.
"During his lifetime he exemplified some of the qualities that have been instilled in him while he served his country," she said.
Johnson went to Hudson High School before dropping out in 1944 to serve. After being basic training at Montford Point he went to Saipan and guarded Japanese prisoners. After his service, he went back and graduated and went on to Savannah State College on a football and track scholarship.
This isn't Johnson’s first accolade. Before he got ill, he was called "The Mayor of Unionville."
"He has always been recognized but this is special," Dorothy said.
"He never wanted the accolades but it's amazing how many of them have come to him," his daughter Cheryl Johnson Knight said.
Macon's Thomas Mosley was also at City Hall where he received a standing ovation. Mosley was able to go to Washington D.C. and get his medal. A medal he now proudly wears.
"We wanted to do a great job and never thought we'd get recognition that we're receiving now," Mosley said.
Johnson's family said they're not only proud of him, but all 20,000 Montford Point Marines. He currently lives at the Cherry Blossom Facility in Bloomfield.