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LTG John Archer Lejeune

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LTG John Archer Lejeune

United States Marine Corps General. He was born in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana, the son of a former Confederate officer, and attended Louisiana State University. After three years at L.S.U., he attempted to gain entry to West Point, but finding no openings in his class, he chose instead to attend the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1888. Sent to sea aboard the Vandalia, he and his shipmates suffered through a devastating hurricane near Samoa that destroyed their vessel in March 1889. Convinced that sea life was not for him, he applied for a transfer into the Marines. His initial request was denied, but his continued pleas resulted in his eventual transfer to the Corps in July 1890. Promoted to First Lieutenant in 1892, he was given command of the Marine attachment aboard the Cincinnati during the Spanish-American War. While in that post, he took part in the occupation of Puerto Rico. By 1903, he had advanced through the ranks to Major and had been given command of the Marine Battalion attached to the Atlantic Fleet. In 1905, he was named commander of the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C., and then was sent to the Philippines in 1907. In 1909, having risen in rank to Lieutenant Colonel, he became the first Marine officer admitted to the Army War College, graduating in 1910. He then was granted the prestigious command of the New York Navy Yard, a command he retained until 1913, when he was promoted to full Colonel, taking command of the Advanced Base Brigade at New Orleans in his home state. He led the Marine brigade that occupied Veracruz, Mexico, in 1914. Then in August 1916, promoted to Brigadier General, he served as assistant to Marine Corps Commandant General George Barnett. In 1917, he assumed the critically important post of commander at Quantico, Virginia. This base served as a training center and staging area for Marines on their way to the European front in World War I. He himself went to France in June 1918 to take command of the 4th Marine Brigade, the only Marine brigade in the American Expeditionary Force. In July, he was promoted to Major General, succeeding General Omar Bundy as commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, and becoming the first Marine ever to command an Army division. He led that Division in the St. Mihiel Offensive in the battle of the Blanc Mont Ridge on October 3, 1918, and throughout the Meuse-Argonne operation. Following the war, he served with the Army of Occupation in Germany, returning in 1919 to resume command of the Quantico Marine base. Named 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps in June 1920, he is credited with modernizing the Corps, as well as with establishing the Marine Corps School at Quantico. He retained his command throughout the terms of three United States Presidents: Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge. Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1929, he accepted the position of Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, serving in that position until 1937. He was promoted to Lieutenant General on the Marine Corps retired list in February 1942. He died of cancer in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the recipient of the Army Distinguished Service Medal, (given to him personally by General John J. Pershing), Navy Distinguished Service Medal, French Legion of Honor, and the Croix de Guerre. To this day, he is known as "The Greatest of All Leathernecks," truly earning the title the hard way. Due to his status, the large Marine base in North Carolina is named in his honor.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2283
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LTG John Archer Lejeune (10 Jan 1867–20 Nov 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2283, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .