One of first African Americans to serve in Marines lives in Timmonsville

Randolph Harrell, 89, was one of 20,000 African Americans who were allowed to join the US Marine Corps in 1942, following a Presidential Directive by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Harrell served as guest speaker at the Veteran's Day ceremony at Brockington Elementary School in Timmonsville Friday morning.

The historic group became known as the Montford Point Marines.

"I was happy to serve in the military. And I was happy to serve in the Marine Corps. In fact, I had studied about it from the time, I was in high school and they was talking about how elite it was and how respectful and dignified it was," said Harrell.

Harrell grew up in Timmonsville and left after high school to work on a naval yard in Virginia before he became a marine.

Students listened closely as he shared with them his World War II experience.

"It means a whole lot .In fact , there were a little over 20 thousand of us and when we went to Washington in June, there was a little over 400 of us was left. In the paper a few days ago, I saw where one of those left us."

Harrell told students if they work hard their dreams will too come true.

"I hope they'll learn to struggle and get what they can out of life and be the best that they can be in every endeavor in life be the best."

Harrell lives in Timmonsville with his daughter. .

The students gave him a standing ovation following his remarks.