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The Services

Korean War News

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Marines--Fully Integrated

 

"I had a thousand black Marines in Korea...They did everything, and they did a good job."
 
ATTRIBUTION:General O. P. Smith, commanding 1st Marine Division, 1950
 
Black Marines had served admirably in World War II, despite being restricted to  segregated units commanded by white officers. Full integration remained illusory. As late as 1949 the Corps included only 1,500 black Marines and a single regular officer. The  Korean War accelerated the process of integration in all ranks and units. More than  15,000 black Marines served during the conflict, gaining acceptance most readily in the  stressful bonding of the front lines, where they received combat awards and won the  appreciation of their compatriots. The Corps earned no “battle streamers” for this  achievement, but it remains one of the Marines' greatest breakthroughs.