Double Victory

The Tuskegee Airmen and Montford Point Marines

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Museum's military history gallery cares for two of only a few original “collective” Congressional Gold Medals awarded to the Tuskegee Airmen and Montford Point Marines. The Tuskegee Airmen Medal, awarded in 2006, was among the first bestowed upon a military unit, “In recognition of the ‘unique military record’… which inspired revolutionary reforms in the Armed Forces.” The Montford Point Marines Medal was awarded in 2012 “in recognition of ‘their personal sacrifice and service to their country’ as the first African-American Marines” since colonial times.

Although only the medals’ front sides are displayed in the gallery, the reverse sides are also distinctive. Each highlights a significant aspect of the unit’s history. For the Tuskegee Airmen, three of the combat aircraft they flew are represented. For the Montford Point Marines, the distinctive Montford Point Water Tower that loomed over all their drills, such as the marching drill on the medal, appears in the background.


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