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.
Download our mobile app for more stories celebrating Military Appreciation Month
The Mobile Stories app is a complement to your Museum visit and a way to discover some of the many stories found in our collection. The app features highlighted objects from the collection, multimedia and augmented reality features to enhance your Museum experience, and new stories exploring our inaugural exhibitions.