Some may have never heard of the Montford Point Marines.
"Without their courage, integrity, and determination, a lot of other African-Americans would not have been able to serve in the marine corps," Montford Point Marine Association Chapter 2 President Sharon Stokes-Parry.
It's an important group in our nation's history. Today there are two training camps for U.S. marines, but in the 1940's there was a third: Montford Point at Camp Legune North Carolina.
"From 1942 to 1949, a segregated training camp for African-Americans in the United States Marine Corps," Stokes-Parry said.
Its members later formed the Montford Point Marine Association, a nonprofit organization which is still up and running today. the group visited veterans memorial hall in Rockford this weekend during black history month. Stanley Porter is in this organization. He's one of the original Montford Point Marines.
"We took that awful journey to break the barriers to see that we can protect our community, our city, our country and that was an outlet for us to do that," Original Montford Marine Stanley Porter said.
The Chicago native served from 1942 until 1945.
"I was among the very first which was the 51st defense battalion. it was an anti-aircraft outfit. and of course we were expected to fail but we said in spite of everything we were going to make it even better," Porter said.
Porter said he and fellow black marines were responsible for operating equipment like machine guns in world war two. During that war he traveled across the pacific ocean to places like the Marshall Islands and Iwo Jima.
"Of course eventually the bomb and of course after that then we came home," Porter said.
Today he shares his story and how far our nation has come because of groups like the Montford Point Marines.
"We want those who do not know the service that we gave then and the service that we give today in our community. we're still given the service to our country," Porter said.
While others want them to know that they are an inspiration.
"Their success went on to further the success of other individuals in the marine corps like myself. i couldn't have served as a woman in the marine corps without them being the first," Stokes-Parry said.