MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
Past and present Marines and sailors of 2nd Marine Division joined together to celebrate the Division’s 73rd birthday aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Jan. 31.
“It is important to know what you are a part of and what this unit means, what 2nd Marine Division stands for. You have joined 2nd Marine Division and are now a part of that outfit and is important to understand where you come from,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Lukeman, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Division.
Celebration came in the form of a memorial service for Marines and sailors who gave the ultimate sacrifice while with 2nd Marine Division, a Battle Colors Rededication and Awards Ceremony and a banquet at the USO of Jacksonville, N.C. The events involved active duty Marines and retired Marines who are now with the Second Marine Division Association and the Marine Corps League.
“The important thing to remember is the Division Marines of the past and the Marines who now protect America as well,” said former Cpl. Philip Peters, who was a field radio operator with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.
Philips, a Poughkeepsie, N.Y. native, and now a three-year member of the Second Marine Division Association, showed respect to Marines during the memorial service who have lost their lives and either gone missing in action or taken prisoner of war, with prayer as well as lighting a candle for each of the battles the Division has taken part in.
“The memorial service was inspiring, it is always good to go in there with veterans of today and yesterday because of the message it sends. Now they know or are reminded and have a full understanding of why they are in the Division and what it means to be in it,” said Retired Lt. Col. David Brown, who served with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division in 1966 as the G-3 Training Range and Schools Officer. Brown is currently the executive director of the SMDA.
Following the memorial service, Marines and sailors made their way to the Battle Colors Rededication Ceremony where 15 battle streamers were rededicated to the 2nd Marine Division’s colors. Fifteen active duty Marines accompanied retired Marines currently with the Marine Corps League to attach the streamers onto the colors in order of seniority.
“The rededication of the battle colors is always uplifting, it goes beyond belief,” said Brown, who served almost 22 years. “Watching the ‘Old Corps’ veterans with younger active duty Marines put the streamers on the colors again is an absolutely sensational thing to see and experience. We do this every year and it gets better.”
A banquet was held for the 2nd Marine Division Marines following the rededication ceremony. Eighty-five ‘Old Corps’ Marines, and more than 100 active duty Marines, joined together to eat and share stories in order to keep their ‘Espirit de Corps’ thriving.
“It’s great to see the way they get along and enjoy each other; the older Marines just love to sit there and share their war stories,” said Brown.
As the ceremonies and celebrations for the 73rd birthday came to an end, the Marines and sailors of the Division look forward to spending time together again at the 74th birthday celebration.
“We have a great Division and I am very proud to be a part of it,” added Brown.