FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán announced her bill to rename a Compton post office for the nation’s first African American Marine Medal of Honor recipient, Private First Class James Anderson, Jr.
“Private First Class James Anderson, Jr. was a son of Compton, a patriot, and a hero in the purest sense of the word. The bravery of this 20-year old was beyond any rational expectation for someone so young, and his family, friends, and fellow soldiers still feel the impacts of that sacrifice to this day,” said Rep. Barragán. “It was my honor to introduce legislation to rename a post office in our community in honor of his courage and sacrifice.”
PFC James Anderson, Jr. was born in January 22, 1947 in Los Angeles, California. He attended Carver Elementary School in Willowbrook and later graduated from Centennial High School in Compton. He continued his education at Los Angeles Harbor College. After a year and a half, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in February 1966. In December 1966, Private Anderson arrived in the Republic of Vietnam.
On February 28, 1967, while on patrol outside of the village in Quang Tri Province, PFC Anderson’s platoon was ambushed and came under heavy enemy fire. During the ensuing firefight, an enemy grenade landed near PFC Anderson and his fellow Marines. Without hesitation, PFC Anderson pulled the grenade to his chest, curled around it, and absorbed the majority of the blast with his body, heroically saving the lives of the Marines around him at the cost of his own.
On August 21, 1968, Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to PFC James Anderson, Jr. for heroism in Vietnam, the first time an African American Marine received this medal.
“PFC Anderson made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Renaming the post office in Compton in his honor would recognize his duty and sacrifice and preserve that legacy right here in our community where he grew up,” said Congresswoman Barragán.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington