After graduating from recruit training with the 51st Composite Defense Battalion, Huff joined its 155-mm gun battery as gun commander. As he explains in this edited excerpt from his 1972 oral history interview with Henry I. Shaw Jr. from the Marine Corps History and Museums Division, instead of shipping overseas with the battalion, he was selected to attend drill instructor school. Following completion of the course, in March 1943 he was assigned as drill instructor, and in November 1944 he became the field sergeant major of all recruit training at Montford Point Camp. From the end of World War II to May 1949 he was the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of recruit training there. After 13 years of service, in 1955 he was the first African-American to be promoted to Marine sergeant major.
Sergeant Major Huff’s personal decorations include three Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars with Combat “V,” three Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.
On 2 May 1994 Sergeant Major Edgar R. Huff passed away at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital.