View Full Version : Thousands of Marines, sailors celebrate 2nd Marine Division's 75th anniversary

Rocky C
02-07-16, 04:48 PM
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Spectators who braved chilly winds lined both sides of the street Saturday as more than 5,000 Marines and sailors paraded as part of the 2nd Marine Division's 75th anniversary celebration.

The 1.5-mile parade featured everyone from World War II veterans to the future Marines in JROTC. The division marched in step beneath a large U.S. flag that marked the reviewing area. Veterans along the route sported Marine memorabilia and gave shouts of "ooh-rah," which were quickly answered by the war cries of the passing platoon. The 2nd Marine Division band's rendition of the Marine's Hymn earned an ovation.

This was not a day for Marines alone. The division has upwards of 900 sailors, who have an equal share in the heritage of this blue-green team.

"When you see the Marines walking by, it is hard to pick out a sailor," said Command Master Chief (FMF/SW) Russell Folley. "The sailors in this division are in lock-step with the Marines. They train with them, they live with them, and they are a part of their unit. And when they leave the 2nd Marine Division, they are the best sailors in the Navy."

The events were an opportunity "to celebrate heritage and legacy, both past and present," for Sgt. Maj. Jim Boutin, 2nd Marine Regiment sergeant major. Roughly 1,200 regimental Marines joined him; 3rd Battalion was conducting preparatory training at Fort AP Hill, Virginia, in anticipation of an upcoming unit deployment to Okinawa.

Such dispersion is par for the course for the "Follow Me" division. Marines from 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion are conducting cold weather training in Norway, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines is serving as the Black Sea rotational force, and 8th Marine Regiment has taken the helm for Special Purpose MAGTF-Crisis Response Africa in Spain and Italy.

Division leaders felt it was important this be a community celebration. As such, the parade was held in Jacksonville rather than on Camp Lejeune, and culminated with a community festival at Jacksonville's New River Waterfront Park. There, Marines and citizens enjoyed some dodge ball, live music and plenty of food. The M1A1 Abrams tank, assault breaching vehicle, and light armored reconnaissance vehicle were big hits, as the young — and young at heart — crawled through crew compartments and took countless selfies.

"Today is a very special day for us because we get to play host to the 2nd Marine Division," said Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips. "This gives us an opportunity to recognize the heroes who live among us."

The three-day celebration included a memorial ceremony to honor the division's dead and missing warriors. Veterans from each era also placed battle streamers on the division colors. The division band wrapped up the two-day celebration with a concert at Northside High School.

The “Follow Me” division organized Feb. 1, 1941, at Camp Elliott, California. Its Marines have fought in every clime and place, from Guadalcanal in the Pacific to Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Three of the division's former commanders — Gens. Al Gray, Randolph Pate and James Jones — went on to serve as commandant. Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, also led the division as a two-star general from July 1954 to February 1955.

Rocky C
02-07-16, 04:49 PM
2nd Marine Division here !!!

USMC 2571
02-07-16, 04:51 PM
I saw this somewhere a day or so ago. Interesting. I was at Lejeune when they were celebrating their 23rd anniversary!!!!!!. The entire base, or nearly that, was on Operation Steelpike, a huge training exercise in Spain, so it was a ghost town the day I arrived on base.

USMC 2571
02-07-16, 04:52 PM
(For those who were at Lejeune, consider looking into the Second Marine Division Association)

Rocky C
02-07-16, 05:01 PM
Too bad you missed it Dave.

I was there for 2 of them.

USMC 2571
02-07-16, 05:03 PM
Those huge exercises? Yep, missed not only Operation Steelpike but Dominican Republic in 1965, when some platoons in my company went to DomRep while others stayed behind. Air Naval Gunfire platoon went, but my platoon, which dealt with HQ BN supply stuff, remained behind loading and unloading trucks.

USMC 2571
02-07-16, 05:05 PM
At Lejeune I was unloading a truck of supplies one day and my Sergeant hollered up at me to get off that truck, I got orders to Puerto Rico, along with my top secret clearance that just came thru, and I told him I would head over to the PX as soon as I was done and get some suntan lotion and sunglasses for the trip, and he went wild and ordered me off the truck, saying this was serious, he was not kidding. He seemed kind of disappointed that he had to stay at Lejeune. LOL

Rocky C
02-07-16, 05:09 PM
My home base was 2nd Mar Div at Lejeune when I wasn't travelling the world.

French Creek Area.

USMC 2571
02-07-16, 05:19 PM
Going back in 1996, Lejeune in many respects was virtually unchanged since the mid-1960s.

02-07-16, 06:31 PM
I served there 15 months, got the hell out of there went to the Rock, Semper Fidelis.

USMC 2571
02-07-16, 07:11 PM
I didn't like Lejeune, Ronnie, not at all. Huge, kind of plain looking. And in those days very very few Marines had cars of their own, so we were severely restricted in our travels throughout the area.----I guess with a car it would have been different, easy access to Wilmington NC, some SC locations, even Washington DC within reasonable driving distance.

02-07-16, 07:28 PM
Dave I know what you mean very few cars, we usually went to Fayetteville for a good time,lol, Semper Fidelis.

Tennessee Top
02-07-16, 11:20 PM
Never served with the 2ndMarDiv. I was with HqCo, HqBn, MCB, Camp LeJeune. Worked in building #1 mainside in the AC/S, Facilities office with a full bird colonel (he was a chain smoker and one of my duties as his clerk was to keep his huge glass ashtray clean). Was on the color guard detail and also played on the base championship intramural softball team (sat on the bench mostly). CLNC was my first duty station so didn't have anything to compare it to at the time. Looking back, it was definitely not my favorite place to be stationed.

02-09-16, 06:49 AM
I was at LeJeune in 54 and part of 55, with Chesty.

02-09-16, 07:03 AM
I was at LeJeune in 54 and part of 55, with Chesty.

02-09-16, 08:08 AM
I was stationed at Lejeune several times. I have a lot of good memories there. My oldest son was born there ( he later became a Marine ). I also met my wife of 50 years at Carolina Beach(close to Lejeune), and I was stationed at the Rifle Range which was good duty.

I had a car, and that allowed me to go and come as I please. I often picked up riders at the circle on mainside, and swooped to a lot of places. I've been back to Lejeune several times, and have enjoyed the visits.

The only negative that I associate with Lejeune is the contaminated water problem, that continues to this date, and that the Marine Corps denied it until it was proven.

02-09-16, 09:27 AM
So that's my problem I drank that chit for 15 months,lol, I did go back through there in 2003, what a change, Semper Fidelis.

02-09-16, 11:29 AM
I went back for the dedication of the Carlos Hathcock sniper range ; the opening of the Marsoc facilities, and once just to go back for the memories, both located at the rifle range. Hpwever, they now officialy call it Stone Bay, not just the Rifle Range.

Did you register for the water contamination?

02-09-16, 12:25 PM
Mitch I did register, they do send out a lot of letters, Semper Fidelis.