MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Marines and sailors with 2nd Marine Division hosted World War II Day aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 25.
The day consisted of veterans of World War II visiting Camp Lejeune and getting a taste of the modern Marine Corps. Although it was mostly WWII veterans, there were also veterans of Korea and Vietnam in attendance. The veterans saw modern versions of the weapons they used during their time including Amphibious Assault Vehicles landing on Onslow Beach and other demonstrations.
“So while a lot has changed in 70 years, I think what you and these young Marines will find out is that an awful lot hasn’t about being a Marine, sailor, soldier or airman,” said Brig. Gen. James Lukeman commanding general, 2nd Marine Division.
Lukeman also said WWII Day was also a good chance for today’s Marines to talk to and learn from the Marines of the past.
“The battles that we learn about in history; Saipan, Tinian, Okinawa, Iwo Jima – these guys served in those battles and they set the foundation for what our Marines stand on today,” said Lukeman.
Once the veterans saw the static display of today’s weapons and the AAV’s land on Onslow Beach, they made their way to the ramps at 2nd Assault Amphibious Battalion and saw static displays of the AAVs and Tanks. They then had a break and enjoyed a lunch on base.
The day continued with a presentation at the Officers’ Club aboard Camp Lejeune. Mark Noah showed the veterans a presentation about a project he has been working on. He has been going to the where the Marines fought in the Pacific Theater during WWII and searches for the remains of Marines who were missing in action. He recovers the bodies of fallen Marines in order to bring them home and give them a proper funeral and burial in their homeland.
After Noah’s presentation, retired Gunnery Sgt. Ralph Roucco presented a book captured from a Japanese officer on Tarawa to the 2nd Marine Division. Lukeman accepted the book on behalf of the Division and the book will be displayed at the division headquarters located in Julian C. Smith Hall.
At the end of the ceremony, the Marines stayed at the Officers’ Club for drinks and hors d'oeuvres and listened to performances from the 2nd Marine Division Band.