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The Blue Diamond: 74 year legacy

23 Jan 2015 | Courtesy Story 1st Marine Division

Marines, sailors and veterans of the 1st Marine Division honored the division’s 74th anniversary during a battle colors rededication ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 22, 2015.

Major Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, fastened 25 streamers to the battle colors. Each streamer signified the many campaigns, expeditions, battles and decorations presented to the division since its establishment. Each streamer was presented to Nicholson by a veteran and a junior Marine from the 1st Marine Division.

“Today we honored about 200 veterans that span the entire history of our division,” said Nicholson. “We had World War II veterans that fought in Guadalcanal, the first major offensive of World War II, all the way through veterans of the latest deployment to Iraq.”

The 1st Marine Division provides approximately 24,000 combat-ready Marines for rapid deployment in contingencies around the world. There is an expectation that wherever the “Blue Diamond” goes that we will keep the standard those before us set, said Nicholson.

Retired Cpl. Jerry Jones, a rifleman who served with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, calls the Blue Diamond his home. Jones served from 1968 to 1970. Jones retired when he was hit by a mine in 1969 during the Vietnam War.

“I come back every year,” said Jones. “I come to everything the division does and will continue to as long as I can.”

The 1st Marine Division was established aboard the USS Texas on Feb. 1, 1941, said Nicholson. The Blue Diamond began their legacy in the Battle of Guadalcanal, where they fought for six months against Imperial Japan. The Blue Diamond has been in many major conflicts from World War II to present.  

Even the Marines of today understood the importance of the division and its contributions to not only the history of the Corps but also the history our nation, explained Sgt. Quillan Hedger, a technical controller with 11th Marine Regiment. 

“We appreciate everything that has happened before us, and we are here today to remember that legacy,” said Hedger. “It is awesome to see all the veterans of the division here.” 

Marines and sailors spanning the history of the 1st Marine Division will be sitting down to celebrate their roots Feb. 2, 2015, whether it’s a Marine who fought on the cold, sandy beaches for Guadalcanal or a Marine who is fighting in the deserts and mountain ranges of Afghanistan, the 1st Marine Division remains the place they call their own.