CHARLES H. STALLARD RECEIVES 2011 RODNEY WILLIAMS, JR. MEMORIAL AWARD
Lexington, Kentucky, April 30, 2011: Presented annually at the Officer Selection Officer (OSO) Colonel William “Rich” Higgins Memorial Mess Night/Dining-In to an individual selected by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky (MCCCK) Board of Directors, who has demonstrated exemplary community leadership and commitment, with a long history of dedicated service to Marine Corps related activities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The presentation of a personalized engraved Marine Corps plaque was made by Major Rory B. Quinn, USMC, Commanding Officer, Marine Corps recruiting Station Louisville and Mr. Ed Armento, Secretary, MCCCK.
With the Vietnam War escalating and many of his friends being drafted, Mr. Charles H. Stallard of Frankfort, Kentucky, chose to enlist in the branch of service, which he believed would provide him with the best training for his ultimate survival. Upon completion of basic recruit training, he soon found himself in the thick of the Vietnam War as a replacement rifleman in the Third Marine Division at Dong Ha, where he was unceremoniously welcomed by a North Vietnamese Army artillery barrage. After seeking safety in an airfield bunker, without a weapon, flak jacket, or helmet, he quickly came to realize that he was replacing a fellow Marine, waiting nearby in a black plastic bag for the long journey home. Thirteen months later, he himself came home to a hostile civilian reception, unlike anything he expected or had prepared for. His experience as a Marine, like countless others who have earned the privilege of wearing the eagle, globe and anchor, changed his life forever and gave him the tools to succeed in whatever he chose to pursue. Throughout a 32 year career with the United States Postal Service at Louisville, Kentucky, Mr. Stallard frequently relied upon the values and discipline imbued in him by his Marine Corps experience.
Following in the footsteps of other African-American patriots, who endured discrimination to integrate the Marine Corps through segregated training at Camp Montford Point, New River, North Carolina 1942-1949, he has endeavored to preserve and honor their legacy, through his dedicated involvement with the Montford Point Marine Association. Serving in various capacities, both on a local and national level, he has been recognized for his untiring efforts to represent the Marine Corps in our African-American community.
For the past 18 years, he has served as president of the Montford Point Marine Association, Louisville Chapter #22, organizing and executing various community wide projects, such as academic scholarships to deserving African-American students pursuing higher education, visitations of and food distributions to homebound veterans, and annual fundraising roadblocks critical to the success of our Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program, all of which have served to improve the social conditions of veterans, youth and senior citizens, regardless of race, creed, or national origin. Mr. Stallard currently serves as national treasurer of the Montford Point Marine Association and in 2008 was enshrined in that organization’s Hall of Fame based upon his dedication to its mission and outstanding selfless service.
Recognizing the need to honor and remember military personnel, who have lost their lives in the service of their nation, but not as a result of combat or other hostile actions, Mr. Stallard served from 2002 – 2009 on the founding committee and later the board of directors of the Patriots Peace Memorial at Louisville, Kentucky, which today is recognized as a truly unique edifice providing solace and closure to families and loved ones of those enshrined. Each year, he visits local high schools with Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps units, to discuss with cadets the many opportunities for African-American youth in the United States Marine Corps, made available to them through the dedication and sacrifice of those who trained at Camp Montford Point, prior to the full integration of the Marine Corps. As a young man, who himself benefited from the hardships endured by those original Montford Point Marines, Mr. Stallard continues to honor their legacy by serving tirelessly to enhance the lives of fellow veterans within our community, earning the respect and admiration of other veterans’ groups and those who are affected by his contagious enthusiasm.