News: 2nd Marine Division Association celebrates 72nd birthday, history, lineage
Story by Cpl. Charles Clark
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - From its war-torn beginnings fighting in Shanghai, China, during the Boxer Rebellion, 2nd Marine Division evolved from more than 70 years of dedicated service.
The 2nd Marine Division Association rededicated its namesake’s battle colors during the division’s 72nd birthday ceremony at the Camp Lejeune base theater, Feb. 1, 2013.
"The 2nd Marine Division Association provides an opportunity for Marines and sailors who have served in the 2nd Marine Division, in some of the most famous battles in Marine Corps history, to gather together, celebrate our history, and pass it on to today's Marines and Sailors,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Lukeman, the 2nd Marine Division commanding general. “From Guadalcanal and Tarawa, to Fallujah and Marjah, the 2nd Marine Division has upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and contributed to the legacy of our Corps.”
Sixth Marine Regiment Marines, at the indoor simulated marksmanship trainer, hosted the first event of the two-day celebration, Jan. 30. The salty Marines of yesteryear and their families practiced firing with a variety of weapon systems.
That evening, the Association members and Division Marines talked about life in the Corps then and now, drank and laughed at shared experiences during the Division sergeant major’s reception at the Tinian Room in the Marston Pavilion.
“This was an unforgettable experience,” said Homer “Hank” Zartman, 2nd Marine Division Association Sergeant-At-Arms and a 1956 - 1960 Headquarters and Service Company, 8th Marine Regiment Marine from Surry, Va. “My father was a Marine and served with Smedly Butler, a two-time recipient of the Medal of Honor. The young men look at me with such astonishment when I tell them that.”
Zartman’s father not only served with Smedly Butler, but he took a photograph of Smedly Butler with a monkey. The original photograph and copies along with other photographs of World War I and WWII were given to Sgt. Maj. Bryan K. Zickefoose, 2nd Marine Division sergeant major and Omaha, Neb. native.
“It’s an honor to share space with everyone here tonight,” Zickefoose said as he addressed the room. “Marines today will uphold the great lineage [the Marines who served before] have carved into history.”
Zickefoose introduced the sergeants major who lead the division’s units. Each sergeant major gave their respects to those who have served before and vowed their Marines and sailors will continue to make the division a beacon of leadership, tradition and war-fighting spirit, which gave the unit its motto “Follow me.”
Day two of the celebrations started with a division remembrance service. Navy Capt. Timothy Overturf, 2nd Marine Division chaplain, gave the invocation before the service started.
The holy images of the Prodestant Chapel’s stained-glass windows shown brightly over the somber crowd in remembrance of the Marines and sailors who gave their lives and fought bravely in every conflict since the Revolutionary War.
The Association members and Division Marines exited the chapel and headed to the base theater for the 2nd Marine Division birthday celebration and battle colors rededication.
The division colors led the unit’s colors as the celebrations began. The crowd was filled with Marines, Association members and civilians who gathered to praise the hard work and dedication the division has done and shown in all its years of service.
During the celebrations, junior and noncommissioned officer Division Marines and Association members walked together and hung the battle streamers of wars and battles won since the division’s inception on the division colors.
After the battle streamers were hung, Lukeman spoke to the crowd about his pride and respect for his Marines and everything they have accomplished and how they will continue to honor the great history associated with the unit that fought so valiantly in battles past and present.
“The Marines and Sailors of the Second Marine Division Association remind us where we have been, and what we have done.” Lukeman said “They have laid the foundation of excellence that we, the current generation, enjoy. We truly stand on their shoulders. They remind us of how strong the bonds are between Marines who have served together. I can't thank them enough for all they have done, and continue to do, for the 2nd Marine Division.”