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Congressional Gold Medal presented in honor of the late Cpl. John Dais

Posted: September 28, 2012 4:39 p.m.
Updated: October 1, 2012 5:00 a.m.

On Sept. 2, the late Cpl. John Dais was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor for distinguished achievement, for his service in the United States Marine Corps in the South Pacific from 1942-1949. Dais served as a Montford Point Marine, the first group of African-American men to integrate the Marine Corps.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a presidential directive to permit African-Americans to serve in the Marine Corps.

Because the Marines were African-American, they were not permitted to train with other Marines at Parris Island and were sent to Montford Point, N.C.

Approximately 20,000 African-American Marines trained at Montford Point from 1942 to 1949.

On June 27, 2012, the United States Congress conferred the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines.

Dais was born Oct. 20, 1925, and grew up in Camden. He was drafted into the Marine Corps during World War II. After leaving the military he lived in New Jersey before returning to Camden in 1985. Dais passed away Oct. 9, 2009.

The Congressional Gold Medal was presented to Dais’ wife, Ms. Julia Dais, in the Sept. 2 service at Abundant Life Fellowship Church.

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