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First Name: Edgar

Last Name: Huff

Birthplace: Gadsden, AL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: R.

Date of Birth: 02 December 1919

Date of Death: 02 May 1994

Rank: Sergeant Major

Years Served: 1942 - 1972
Edgar R. Huff

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Edgar R. Huff
Sergeant Major, U.S. Marine Corps

Edgar R. Huff was the first African-American in the U.S. Marine Corps to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major.

Huff was born on 2 December 1919 in Gadsden, AL. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 24 September 1942 as one of the first African-Americans to do so. Huff received his recruit training with the 51st Composite Defense Battalion, Montford Point Camp, New River, NC. Following graduation, he joined the 155mm gun battery of the 51st Composite Defense Battalion and served with that unit as a gun commander.

In early 1943, he was assigned duty under instruction at drill instructors school, and upon completion of his course, was assigned duty as a drill instructor in March 1943. At that time, Montford Point Camp was the receiving point for all blacks entering the Marine Corps, and by November 1944, Huff had been assigned duty as Field Sergeant Major of all recruit training at the Montford Point Camp.

In November 1944, he was promoted to First Sergeant and assigned duty with the 5th Depot Company, departing for the Western Pacific area, serving as First Sergeant with this unit on Saipan, Okinawa, and in North China. The 5th Depot Company furnished logistic support for Marine divisions in that area. Gilbert Johnson, the only other black sergeant major besides Huff to serve during World War II, was Huff's brother-in-law. They were married to twin sisters.

Following World War II, he served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Recruit Training at Montford Point Camp until May 1949. He was then assigned duty as guard and infantry chief, Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, NJ, until May 1951, at which time he assumed duty with the famed 1st Marine Division in Korea. There, he saw combat as a company gunnery sergeant with the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, and participated in operations in the "Punch Bowl" area, eastern front, and in the spring-summer offensive on the West Central front.

Upon his return to the U.S. in August 1952, he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, serving as First Sergeant, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion 8th Marines. In March 1955, he was assigned duty as Guard Chief, Marine Barracks, Naval Air Station, Fort Lyautey, French Morocco.

Huff was promoted to First Sergeant in the new rank structure on 30 December 1955, and to the rank of Sergeant Major a day later on31 December 1955. From that date he served at the following Marine Corps installations: Post Sergeant Major, Marine Barracks, Port Lyautey, French Morocco; with the 2nd Force Service Regiment; Landing Force Training Unit, Little Creek, VA; the 3rd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Okinawa; the 3rd Force Service Regiment; the 1st Infantry Training Regiment, Camp Geiger, Camp Lejeune, NC; Base Sergeant Major, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA; the 1st Military Police Battalion, Force Logistic Command, and with the III Marine Amphibious Force, Republic of Vietnam (May 1967 - June 1968); and with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (July 1968 - October 1970).

Huff served a second tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam as Sergeant Major with the III Marine Amphibious Force from October 1970 until October 1971. He then served as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, NC, until his retirement on 30 September 1972.

Medals and Awards

Bronze Star Medal with Combat Valor Device and 1 Gold Star
Purple Heart with 2 Gold Stars
Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 2 Gold Stars
Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Presidential Unit Citation with 1 Service Star
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with 9 Service Stars
China Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 6 Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal with 1 Service Star
Korean Service Medal with 3 Service Stars
Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Service Stars
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Death and Burial

Sergeant Major Edgar R. Huff died on 2 May 1994 at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital. He is buried at the Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville, Onslow County, NC.

Honoree ID: 58   Created by: MHOH




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