Service with Distinction


Theodore R. Britton

His incredible achievements and accolades are too numerous to reference here. However, an achievement that deserves top billing is that Ambassador Theodore R. Britton, Jr., and fellow Marines who served with him during World War II were recently selected as recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest civilian honor for distinguished achievement.

I will begin with his service to his country as a U.S. Marine during World War II, where he participated in the staging for the invasion of Japan.

His record speaks for itself, but I will elaborate on just a few of his accomplishments. He has become a part of history that has helped shape America’s opportunities for Blacks to serve in the military; in particular in the Marines.

It was in 1942, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a directive, allowing Blacks to be recruited into the U.S. Marine Corps. As part of a large group of black men who entered the Marines during that time, Britton, made the decision to serve his country. It was a time when segregation was still active but that didn’t deter Britton from his desire to serve.

Between 1942 and 1949 Britton and about 20,000 other black men received training at Montford Point, at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina. They were the very first group of Blacks to enter the Marine Corps.

From that point forward, Britton has served his country with honor and distinction. The men came from every corner of America, and they each fought for the rights of all Americans, even though their personal rights were curtailed by racism. They laid the foundation for greater equality and opportunities in the military for African Americans and other minorities.

Britton and the other men of distinction who trained at Montford Point and served in the Marines during that time were honored in August of 2011 at Montford Point for their dedicated service.

After World War II, Britton returned to civilian life but was later recalled for the Korean War. After serving a short stint during that war, he elected to be discharged so that he could continue serving his country as a civilian.

As a civilian, Ambassador Britton has been dedicated to serving others in ways that have produced remarkable results.

Britton has always had a life-long interest in diplomatic and international affairs which led him to become involved in many programs within the U.S. Information Agency beginning in 1971.

From 1974 to 1977 Britton served as Ambassador, (Chief of Mission) to Barbados and the State of Grenada, while simultaneously serving as the U.S. Special Representative to the States of Antigua, Dominica, St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.

As a specialist in housing and finance, his civilian service also includes a career at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

His degrees in banking and finance enabled him to serve as an officer and director in the savings and commercial banking arenas. He earned a B.S. degree and graduate diploma from New York University and from the American Savings and Loan Institute, respectively.

He is a life-time supporter of education and has lectured at colleges and universities throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean.

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