Return to Camp Lejeune

This past month of October 2020, was the first time in 46 years, I have set foot on Camp Lejeune since I was first assigned there in November 1974. Not only has the Main Gate changed a little but also getting on base was easier, they scanned my Retired Military ID card and waved me on! Hell I remember a time when even in uniform with ID card and Official orders, you were practically interrogated and strip searched before being allowed on base!!! And that loooong pleasant drive to Main Side, still the same, but Main Side, Good Lord! I thought I was at the Saks Fifth Ave of shopping malls! And the PX!! Top of the line merchandise but only with prices to match. I remember back in my days when everything in the PX was a good 40% less than civilian prices, but former Pres Jimmy Carter changed that! The best part, the barracks that were there when I checked in WERE THE SAME ONES!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it! LOL!!! I surely those would have been torn down and replaced! Nope! I was told they were refurbished inside with private rooms, but outside, nothing changed! And those barracks were “old” in 1974!
In closing I would like to say that all the Marines I saw were the same as in my day, but I have to say, I think they are better! They all looked strac, just as sharp in uniform and carried themselves with a lot of pride and on average everyone looked fit beyond what we were!!! I usually say that the only people who say “change is good” are those who are not affected by the change, but the Marines I saw were changed for the better! Semper Fi!!!

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4 thoughts on “Return to Camp Lejeune”

  1. Went back to Lejeune summer of 1995 on the way back from a wedding in Charleston SC. We came up Rt. 17 and came through the rear gate at Sneads Ferry. The guard ask to see my drivers license and ask where I was going. I told me that I wanted to just pass through and go out the Main Gate. He gave me a visitors pass and we were on our way. One of the first things we saw ,and the family got a kick out of, was a “Use Caution Tank Crossing” sign . Drove through Courthouse Bay then to the French Creek area and out the front gate. Great Memory. I’m sure things have changed since 911 . Harry 1371

  2. In 2015 I went back to MCAS Cherry Point with a Marine buddy. We were both stationed there back in 1965, serving in the same unit. The main gate, which, back in the day was barely a small guard shack, was now a small building. And just as described in Mr. Gawry’s recollections of Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point’s PX now looks like a department store. As for the barracks, we found our’s, Barracks Number 200. Due to today’s security standards all the barracks had numeric door locks, though we were told all the barracks had been refurbished with four men to a room and with air conditioning! No more open squad bays. As for today’s Marines, sharp, intelligent and certainly trained a lot differently than 50 plus years ago. Outside the Main Gate the town of Havlock has changed for the better, with no sign of the old bars and restaurants we used to haunt, when we had the money. Even with all of Cherry Point’s changes, it was a lot of fun to go back and reminisce.

  3. Ocassionally go to P.I., Quantico, P.I. etc and I ask myself, “Was I that sharp?”. Still haven’t got an answer LOL

  4. After Nam, spent my last 2 years at Lejeune. Mid 1970 to June of ’72. Was attached to 81 mm
    Mortars as their munitions handler. My MOS was 2311. ” Ammo Tech ” Did in country live
    fires as well as when on a 6 month Med cruise over Christmas and New Years of ‘ 70.
    Lots of good memories. Semper Fi !!!!!!!!!!

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