north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     On the eve of World War II the United States Marine Corps, quickly outgrowing facilities at Quantico and Parris Island, searched the East Coast for a site for a large amphibious training installation. North Carolina congressman Graham Barden had been credited with winning the base for his district but, in the final analysis, geography played the greatest role. The New River in Onslow County, with its beaches and tributaries, offered the Marines the terrain they required. Construction commenced in April 1941 and was largely completed by August 1942. George W. Carr of Durham was the architect. Although the government appealed to residents for cooperation, much of the land had to be acquired through condemnation. An estimated 720 families (2,400 people) were displaced from the 174 square miles. The existing structures in the area were removed as were all known burials.

     On December 20, 1942, the camp was named for Louisiana native John Archer Lejeune. The commander of the Second Infantry Division (both Marine and Army Units) in France during World War I, General Lejeune was the thirteenth commandant of the United States Marine Corps, serving from 1920 to 1929. His daughter Eugenia was commissioned into the Marine Women’s Reserve at the camp in 1943. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt inspected the facility in a visit on December 18, 1944. Today the base has over 151,000 acres, 6,800 buildings, and 450 miles of roads. Troops from Camp Lejeune have taken part in every major U.S. military action since World War II. Billed as the “Home of Expeditionary Forces in Readiness,” Camp Lejeune has the largest concentration of Marines in the nation.

Gertrude Carraway, Camp Lejeune Leathernecks (1946)
Thomas C. Loftfield and Tucker Littleton, comp., “Archaeological and Historical Survey of U.S.M.C. Base Camp Lejeune” (1981)
Billy Arthur, “Camp Lejeune—The Early Days,” Leatherneck (November 1982), pp. 28-81 and 696
Joseph Parsons Brown, The Commonwealth of Onslow: A History (1960)
The Coast of North Carolina Salutes Camp Lejeune (1967)
Sarah M. Lemmon, North Carolina’s Role in World War II (1964)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources