13th Annual Marine South Military Exposition hits Lejeune

7 Apr 2005 | Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – The 13th annual Marine South Military Exposition was held at Marston Pavilion April 6 and 7 to exhibit and promote newly improved and upcoming inventions, with hopes to aid in future Marine Corps operations.

The event kicked off with a Grand Opening ceremony April 6, complete with color guard and red carpet. Retired Lt. Gen. Steve Olmstead, chairman of Modern Day Marine Exposition, Brig. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, commanding general, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism), and Commandant Helen Hicks, national commandant of the Marine Corps League, were the guest speakers at the ceremony.

This year’s exposition showcased a wide variety of products ranging from bulletproof vests to newly integrated weapon systems to battery-operated glow sticks.

“This event has gone from having about 40 exhibitors the first year, to having more than 140 exhibitors this time around,” said Olmstead.

Sponsored by the Marine Corps League, a national veteran’s organization of more than 60,000 members and Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, Marine South served as a primary resource and educational experience for Marines who attended.

Unique among military events, Marine South is directed at actual Marines users of equipment and gives vital feedback, resulting in logical product development and improvements. The Marines gain insight to the latest technological advances and have the valuable opportunity to interact with the new technology and weapon systems that will be incorporated into future Marine Corps campaigns. The event also helps them keep pace with the rapidly changing face of military expeditionary missions.

“We call Marine South a user event,” said Bill Cooke, group president of VNU Expositions, a Dutch company. “The primary attraction is the exhibitors having the chance to talk to Marines who are using their gear. They each get an opportunity to share feedback, which ultimately improves the products outcome.”

More than 3,000 Marines and civilians are expected to view the air and ground equipment currently in service and upcoming equipment now being developed for the future of the Marine Corps.

“This event is really important because it provides an opportunity for the guys who work with the equipment to give real feedback,” said Luke Durocher, operations and show manager. “The sales and product publicity is great, but the feedback that’s shared is the best part.”

Overall, the Marine South Exposition continues to be a great success in collaborating several defense contractors with knowledgeable staff members to share their opinions, stories and advice to the primary clients throughout the Marine Corps.

The exposition held the highest form of state-of-the-art technology and newly integrated inventions potentially replacing, supporting or making obsolete a lot of the technology the Marine Corps currently uses.