WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) congratulated Lavell Lynch of Bridgeport who received the Congressional Gold Medal today in Washington, DC. The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian award. Mr. Lynch received the award for his service as a Montford Point Marine, the first African Americans ever to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“The men who served their country as Montford Point Marines are true patriots and pioneers. Despite being denied many basic civil rights, these men put their country first and sacrificed so much to defend a nation whose laws hardly protected or recognized them,” said Himes. “These patriotic men have a special place in history, and I am pleased they will finally receive the accolades they deserve.”

Mr. Lynch served from 1943 to 1946 in Hawaii and Nagasaki, Japan, as a switchboard operator and ammunition carrier during World War II. He is one of approximately 400 surviving members of the nearly 20,000 original Montford Point Marines.

Himes cosponsored the legislation that awarded the Montford Point Marines the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their service during WWII.