Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Joseph Henry Carpenter

WASHINGTON — The National Montford Point Marines Association (NMPMA) celebrates the life and legacy of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Henry Carpenter, United States Marine Corps, Retired.

Black History Month: The Montford Point Marines • USMC Video

Colonel Carpenter enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943, trained at Montford Point Camp, then proudly served in WWII. After graduating from George Washington University, he became the Corps’ first African American Data Systems Officer. In 2012 he received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and National BDPA’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Hidden Figures” among ‘The Few’, view a part of his personal story linked here → https://www.defensenews.com/video/dntv/2017/09/18/the-montford-point-marines/

Joseph Henry Carpenter
June 19, 1924 – January 22, 2021

Colonel Carpenter graduated from Cardozo High School in June 1942. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943, proudly serving in WWII, was discharged, and served in the Marine Reserve until his retirement in 1987. Carpenter completed basic training at the segregated boot camp at Montford Point Camp near Jacksonville, NC. He was promoted to chief clerk in 1945 and became the first African American to be assigned duty at the U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He separated from the military in 1949 and worked as a civil servant in various government positions. He attended George Washington University earning a commission with the U.S. Marine Corps as a second lieutenant.

Carpenter was assigned as an officer with the 4th Civil Affairs Group and deployed during peacekeeping operations to Norway, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Vietnam. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring in 1987.

General Nally and Colonel Carpenter during BDPA Awards Gala in 2012

Lieutenant Colonel Carpenter is one of the original members of the Montford Point Marine Association, established to reunite veterans and active-duty Marine Corps personnel that trained at Montford Point Camp between 1942 and 1949; and in 2012 received the U.S. Congressional Gold Honor from President Barack Obama. He is also a founding member of the Montford Point Marines Museum, which is house at Montford Point Camp, known today as Camp Johnson. He was also a member of the Seafarers Yacht Club for sixty years.

Sources and photos: Montford Point Marine Association, BDPA, and U.S. Marine Corps