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BOLIVIA—Master Sgt. Al Banker reported for duty at U.S. Marine Corps base Montford Point on July 24, 1942—one year after African Americans were allowed to serve in the Armed Forces.
The Louisiana native traveled from his hometown of New Orleans to Wilmington and then to Jacksonville, where he was taken to Montford Point, just outside of town.
The African-American Marines were segregated from the white Marines and trained at Montford Point rather than Parris Island, S.C., or San Diego, Calif., where white Marines trained.
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