04.25.05

Senators Dole, Burr Sponsor Resolution Honoring Frederick C. Branch

North Carolina native the first African American to be commissioned as a U.S. Marine officer

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr sponsored a resolution to commemorate the life, achievements, and contributions of Frederick C. Branch, a North Carolina native who was the first African American to be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

"I am privileged to offer this resolution honoring Captain Branch," said Senator Dole. "He was a true American hero who proudly served his country, and thanks in part to his courage and perseverance, today there are 1,700 African American Marine Officers serving our nation."

"Captain Branch was a true pioneer," said Senator Burr. "His sacrifices made it possible for thousands of African Americans to follow in his footsteps. I am proud to sponsor this resolution to honor such a great North Carolina native."

Text of the resolution is below:

RESOLUTION

Commemorating the life, achievements, and contributions of Frederick C. Branch.

Whereas Frederick C. Branch was born on May 31, 1922 in Hamlet, North Carolina, studied at Johnson C. Smith University, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in Physics;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch was drafted in May of 1943, and was one of 20,000 African American Marines to serve in World War II;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch was one of the original Montford Point Marines, having received training alongside other African American Marines during World War II at the Marine Barracks in New Point, North Carolina, which was separated by five miles from the training grounds for all other Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch, after having served in the South Pacific during World War II, was offered the opportunity to receive officer training;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch excelled by making the dean's list as an officer trainee, and was the sole African American candidate in a class of 250 future officers;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch became the first African American to be commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, having earned the rank of second lieutenant on November 10, 1945;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch proudly served our nation during the Korean War, and left the service after having risen to the rank of Captain;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch established a science department at Dobbins High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he taught until his retirement in 1988;

Whereas in 1997 the United States Marine Corps recognized Frederick C. Branch's contribution to integration, and named a training facility in his honor at Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch was widowed upon the death of his wife and partner of 55 years, Camilla "Peggy" Robinson, and is survived by two brothers, William and Floyd, and a godson, Joseph Alex Cooper;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch passed away on April 10, 2005, having paved the way for the 1,700 African American Marine Officers serving our nation today;

Whereas Frederick C. Branch was buried with full military honors at Marine Corps Base Quantico on April 20, 2005;

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) honors the life, achievements, and contributions of Frederick C. Branch; and

(2) extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Frederick C. Branch for the loss of a great, courageous, and pioneering man.