By: Michael Johnson
The Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. Chapter #8, Los Angeles, wishes to announce the passing of Mr. Vaughan H. Whitworth of Los Angeles on Wednesday, December 10, 2019. Mr. Whitworth, 94, was born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina. He was drafted into the United States Marine Corps from Raleigh, North Carolina on November 11, 1943. He was an early candidate for basic training at the then segregated Camp Montford Point, part of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Mr. Whitworth served in the Marine Corps for two and a half years and attained the rank of Sergeant. After training, he was assigned to a depot company in support of Marine Corps operations in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese Imperial Forces. He first landed, under fire, on Saipan in July 1944 and a few weeks later landed on the first day of the invasion of Tinian. On Tinian, though depot companies were assigned support tasks, he and his company engaged in combat against the enemy. Both these islands were part of the strategic Mariana Islands. Their capture moved United States long-range bombers close enough to fly missions against the Japanese Home Islands for the first time. Whitworth later also landed on Okinawa on the first day of the invasion as well as on Ie Shima (Ryukyu Islands).
He was honorably discharged from military service on March 1, 1946 and moved to California where he worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He was then hired by Lockheed Aircraft Corp. (now Lockheed-Martin) where he worked in manufacturing, research and development for 37 years, supervising several employees.
Mr. Whitworth is survived by his wife, Carolyn, to whom he was married for 65 years, and a daughter, Valerie C. Whitworth. After retirement Mr. Whitworth became active in the National Montford Point Marine Association Inc. (MPMA) and the local Los Angeles Chapter #8. As one of the first African Americans to come out of Camp Montford Point and serve in World War II, Whitworth received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2012. He was also honored with a Montford Point Man-of-Year Award in 2015 and MPMA Special President’s Award in 2016. In 2017 he was inducted into the Montford Point Marines Hall of Fame.
A memorial service for Vaughan Whitworth with military color guard was conducted by Pastor Paul A. Hill on Monday, December 23 at 11:00 am at the Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles 90018. In lieu of flowers the family suggests making donations to the National Montford Point Marine Association Scholarship Fund. For more information on how to donate please go to www.montfordpointmarines.org.