Lumberton native known as one of the nation's first black marines dies

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) - A Lumberton native who was one of the nation's first black Marines and later became a Navy chaplain has died.

McMillan Funeral Home says 85-year-old Thomas McPhatter died May 2. He had services this weekend in San Diego and will be buried next Saturday in Lumberton.

McPhatter left college to join the military in the middle of World War II, becoming a Marine combat swimming instructor and expert marksman before his platoon was sent to Iwo Jima.

After the war, McPhatter went back to school and fulfilled his promised to God to become a minister, eventually working as a Navy chaplain.

A viewing for McPhatter will be Wednesday at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, with the funeral and burial at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Lumberton.

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