One of the first Blacks to serve in the Marines, Jonathan West, dies at 91
Jonathan West, a World War II veteran who was among the first African Americans to serve in the Marines, has died in Bend at 91.
The Bend Bulletin reported Oct. 26, 2012 that less than two months ago he was among a few hundred of the surviving veterans of the Montford Point Marines to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
About 20,000 Black Marines trained in a segregated Marine camp in Montford Point, N.C. from 1942 to 1949 after President Roosevelt allowed them to serve.
West was a mechanical engineer, graduating from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Later, he worked in education and was a member of the school board in Eugene. He and his wife had retired in Seattle before moving to Bend six months ago.