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65th Anniversary marked by combat operations in Iraq

1 Feb 2006 | Staff Sgt. Timothy S. Edwards

The 2nd Marine Division’s 65th Anniversary is marked by yet another milestone in its illustrious career: a successful, year-long combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The division assumed control of the Al Anbar province in March 2005 and has aggressively pursued and rooted out insurgent activity throughout the region. Combat operations such as Rivergate and Steel Curtain liberated outlying cities and towns from the grip of the insurgency’s campaigns of murder and intimidation, freeing the people to live free, productive lives.

This freedom allowed for two successful national votes. The Constitutional Referendum in October followed by the National Election in December showed a solid foundation for democracy.

“This year your impressive combat record in Iraq adds another lustrous chapter to your celebrated heritage,” said Gen. Michael W. Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, in a message dated Jan. 26.

Elements of the division still at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., also faced the challenges of assisting in the relief efforts following the landfalls of two hurricanes.

“Elements of the division moved swiftly to rescue and aid our fellow Americans in their time of need after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said Hagee. “Second Marine Division’s versatility at home and deadly effectiveness abroad mirrors the division’s legacy of action that reaches back to World War II, repeatedly creating stability in an unstable world.

“As we commemorate this milestone, it is fitting to pause to honor those who have gone before us, handing down the mantle of war fighting excellence from generation to generation of Marines.”

February 1, 1941 the 2nd Marine Brigade was re-designated as the 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. Since those beginnings, the division has continued to add accolade after accolade to their growing list of accomplishments.

Since its birth in 1941, the division personnel has participated in major battles of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield and now Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.  The division also conducted numerous humanitarian and peace keeping missions across the globe.

“Since 1941, the division has been a pillar of our Corps’ war fighting heritage. From the sandy beaches of Tarawa and Saipan to the dust and grime of Iraq and Afghanistan, the ‘Follow Me’ division has consistently answered the nation’s call to arms with professionalism, selfless sacrifice and courage under fire,” said Hagee.  

“All Marines take pride in your accomplishments and offer you a heartfelt ‘Job Well Done.’ Semper Fidelis and keep attacking,” concluded Hagee.