Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps
— 1867-1942 —
During his more than forty years of service with the Marine Corps, John A. Lejeune participated in campaigns in Panama, Cuba, Mexico, France and Germany. He led the famed 2nd Division, American Expeditionary Force, during World War I with valor and distinction. His leadership of his Marines in the critical action at St. Mihiel earned him the French Legion of Honor.
As Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps, he foresaw a unique mission for the Corps in amphibious expeditionary operations. By doing so, he single-handedly saved the Corps from extinction and preserved it for the service of our nation in war and peace.
He was born in Pointe Coupee Parish on 10 January 1867. After attending Louisiana State University, he obtained an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Upon his graduation from the Academy in 1888, he was assigned sea duty aboard the USS Vandalia and Midshipman Lejeune began his exemplary career as a United States Marine.
· 1890: Commissioned Second Lieutenant while at sea.
· 1898: Captain Lejeune excels at sea during the Spanish-American War.
· 1903: Major Lejeune and his battalion quell uprisings in Panama.
· 1910: Graduates U.S. Army War College following tour in the Philippines.
· 1919: Lieutenant Colonel Lejeune and his 2nd Provisional Brigade quell uprisings in Cuba.
· 1914: Commands the 2nd Advanced Base Regiment in Vera Cruz, Mexico.
· 1917: promoted to Brigadier General, first commander of Marine Barracks, Quantico, Va.
· 1918: World War I, France
- Commanded a brigade of the 32nd Division at Brest.
- Commanded 4th Marine Brigade following Soissons offensive.
- Promoted to Major General.
- Commander of 2nd Division, American Expeditionary Force.
- Became the first Marine officer to command a division in combat.
- Assaulted Marbeche sector during drive on St. Mihiel.
- Stormed Blanc Mont Ridge during Champagne offensive.
- Led 2nd Division triumphantly into Germany following its surrender.
· 1919: Commands Marine Barracks, Quantico, VA. for second time.
· 1920: Named Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps.
- Developed Fleet Marine Force concept.
- Established formal Marine Officers schools at Quantico, Va.
- Founded Marine Corps Association, Marine Corps Institute and Marine Corps League.
- Provided sound leadership and much needed vision for the Marine Corps at a time when efforts were underway to dissolve the service.
- Carved a unique path for the Marine Corps in amphibious operations thereby ensuring its long-term future.
· 1929: Major General Lejeune retired from active duty.
· 1929: Became Superintendent for the Virginia Military Institute, a position he held until poor health forced his resignation in 1937.
· 1942: Promoted to Lieutenant General while on retired list.
- Became first Marine to hold that rank.
- The assault against the Japanese on Guadalcanal proved his amphibious concepts and substantiated his service.
- November 20, at the age of 75, John A. Lejeune died in Baltimore, Md.
- Buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Today, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., not only bears the name of one of the Corps' finest officers, but the name of one of the most able officers of American military history.
Presented by Patrick F. Taylor