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Major Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, the commanding general of 1st Marine Division, addresses the Marines and veterans of the division during a battle colors rededication ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 6, 2014. Marines celebrated the 73rd anniversary of 1st Marine Division by pinning battle streamers onto the division colors. Each battle streamer represented a different award from campaigns ranging from World War II, to Operation Enduring Freedom.

Photo by Cpl. James Gulliver

Blue Diamond Marines honor 73rd anniversary

12 Feb 2014 | Cpl. James Gulliver

Marines, Sailors and veterans of the 1st Marine Division celebrated the division’s 73rd anniversary during a battle colors rededication ceremony here, Feb. 6.

Major Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, fastened streamers to the battle colors presented to him by Blue Diamond veterans, signifying the many campaigns, expeditions, battles and decorations presented to the division since its founding.

“It’s always important to remember the sacrifices of service members who gave their lives for their country and those who served and were willing to give their lives,” said Sgt. Maj. David Jobe, the sergeant major of 1st Marine Division. “Less than one percent of Americans have been in the Marines. It is our duty to honor those few who have served.”

The 1st Marine Division provides roughly 25,000 combat ready Marines and Sailors as ground forces for rapid deployment throughout the world. Its infantry, artillery, mechanized and support elements regularly deploy throughout the globe and aboard U.S. Navy ships with Marine Expeditionary Units in the Pacific and Southwest Asia.

Members of the 1st Marine Division Association, who served in the Blue Diamond in past decades, visited their former regiments and battalions and attend the battle colors rededication ceremony.

“A lot of people write about history and study history but very few people make history,” said Jobe, a native of Plano, Texas. “These Marines that have served in the Blue Diamond are a huge part of the history of this country.”

The Blue Diamond was first activated aboard the USS Texas on Feb. 1, 1941 during the beginning of World War II. Throughout the past century, the Blue Diamond has lead the way in major conflicts, from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom. The division first became famous after the Battle of Guadalcanal, where they fought for six months to defeat the Japanese.

The division built upon its reputation during the Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the division covered 808 kilometers in 17 days of sustained combat during the longest ground march in Marine Corps history.

“The history of the division goes on and on,” said Jobe. “The reputation and legacy of this division is now on the backs of the young Marines serving today and I know they will uphold the traditions and history of the Blue Diamond.”

The division most recently deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2012, where it served as the headquarters for coalition ground forces in the region. Whether it be the Marines who served during the infant years of the Division in World War II, to the Marines who serve in Afghanistan today, celebrating the 1st Marine Divisions birthday honors all those who have called the Blue Diamond home.