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DAYTON, OHIO — A 91-year-old Ohio man has been recognized for his World War II service with a Congressional Gold Medal.
John Lee Cooper was one of about 20,000 African-American recruits trained to become Marines at Montford Point, N.C., adjacent to Camp Lejeune, N.C., between 1942 and 1949.
Like the Tuskegee Airmen, the Montford Point Marines served in segregated units separate from their white counterparts. After boot camp, Cooper was sent to the Pacific theater during the war.
The Dayton Daily News reports Cooper was presented with the medal during a ceremony at the Hospice of Dayton, where he lives.
Cooper’s nephew, W. Roger Smith, maneuvered through federal bureaucracy for a year and a half to get his uncle the honor.