MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The 2nd Marine Division will celebrate its 65th birthday here Feb. 3.
Members from the 2nd Marine Division Association will be on hand to commemorate the occasion alongside the unit’s Marines and sailors, along with rendering honors to warriors past and present.
The “Follow Me” Division, formerly known as the 2nd Marine Brigade, was officially organized Feb. 1, 1941 in San Diego, Calif., by this change of designation.
During the World War II years, division personnel participated in campaigns across the central Pacific including the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan. In their battle for the Tarawa atoll, the Marines suffered approximately 1,100 deaths in combat. However, of the 4,700 Japanese defending the islets, only 17 survived the relentless leathernecks’ assault.
In later decades, elements within the unit comprised parts of a multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon (1982-1984) and participated in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991) and missions in Somalia (1992-1994).
The 2nd Marine Division is currently serving as the ground combat element for Marine forces in western Iraq’s turbulent Al Anbar province while continuing to support counterinsurgency and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan.