John A. Lejeune


John A. Lejeune : biography

January 10, 1867 – November 20, 1942

Upon reporting to the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, he was assigned to command a brigade of the 32nd Division and assumed command of the 4th Brigade of Marines of the 2nd Division immediately following the attack of the division in the Battle of Soissons. On 28 July 1918, Major General Lejeune assumed command of the 2nd Division and remained in that capacity until August 1919, when the unit was demobilized. He was the second Marine officer to hold an Army divisional command (BG Charles A. Doyen was the first), and following the Armistice he led his division in the march into Germany.

During that war, he was recognized by the French Government as a strategist and leader, as evidenced by the Legion of Honor, and the Croix de guerre bestowed upon him by France. From General John J. Pershing, he received the Distinguished Service Medal (Army). The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was conferred upon him when he returned to the United States following the occupation of Germany.

In October 1919, he again was appointed Commanding General, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia.


Commandant of the Marine Corps

Lejeune was appointed as Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 July 1920. Subsequent to that time, he left his headquarters at Washington several times for tours of inspection in Haiti, Santo Domingo, Cuba, Puerto Rico, to the West Coast and elsewhere. Upon the expiration of his second term as Commandant, Lejeune indicated his desire not to retire from the Marine Corps, but was relieved as Commandant in March 1929.

Decorations and honors

Personal military awards

Lieutenant General Lejeune’s awards include:

number=3|type=service-star|ribbon=Marine Corps Expeditionary ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Spanish Campaign Medal ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Sampson Medal ribbon.JPG|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Mexican Service Medal ribbon.svg|width=106}}
number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Nicaraguan Campaign ribbon 1933.svg|width=106}} number=3|type=service-star|ribbon=World War I Victory Medal ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Croix de guerre 1914-1918 with palm.jpg|width=106}}
Navy Distinguished Service Medal Army Distinguished Service Medal
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal w/ 3 stars Spanish Campaign Medal West Indies Naval Campaign Medal Mexican Service Medal
Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933) World War I Victory Medal w/ 3 clasps Légion d’honneur, Commander grade Croix de guerre w/ palm

U.S. Postal service honor

On November 10, 2005, the United States Postal Service issued the Distinguished Marines stamps in which Lejeune was honored.

Statues and memorials

On November 10, 2000, a life-sized bronze statue of Lejeune was unveiled on the grounds of the Pointe Coupee Parish Courthouse in New Roads, Louisiana. Patrick F. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Taylor Energy Company, along with the retired Marine Corps Major General Ronald G. Richard (former commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune) were in attendance. Taylor, who financed the Lejeune statue project, joined the Marine Corps Officer Training program as a student at Louisiana State University, but a heart problem kept him from receiving his commission. Taylor commissioned sculptor Patrick Dane Miller to fashion it to be historically accurate.Cooke, 2000. Statues of Lejeune also stand outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia, in the center of the traffic circle aboard MCB Camp Lejeune NC, outside of Lejeune Hall at the United States Naval Academy and the Louisiana War Memorial in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana next to the destroyer .


Lejeune, legendary among Marines and often referred to as "the greatest of all Leathernecks", served in the Marine Corps for over 40 years. In his honor, the following bear his name:

  • Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
  • , Navy transport ship
  • Lejeune Hall, Quantico, Virginia
  • Lejeune Hall, Louisiana State University
  • Lejeune Hall, United States Naval Academy
  • Lejeune Hall, Virginia Military Institute
  • Lejeune High School, Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • John A. Lejuene Lodge No. 350 A.F.&A.M. Quantico, Virginia

Retirement and VMI

On 10 November 1929, Lejeune retired in order to accept the position of Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), serving there over eight years until October 1937. In February 1942, he was advanced to the rank of lieutenant general on the Marine Corps retired list.

In 1930 Lejeune was elected as an honorary member of the Virginia Society of the Cincinnati.

Lejeune died 20 November 1942 in the Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, and was interred in the Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.