CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Eric, a stuffed mink, was finally returned to his rightful owner Sept. 21 in a private ceremony at 2d Marine Regiment headquarters.
Col. William R. Kellner, School of Infantry commanding officer, returned Eric to Col. Jerry L. Durrant, 2d Marine Regiment commander, after discovering he had been taken from the regiment several years before.
"I think he has been held hostage and tortured for the last several years," chuckled Kellner, prior to returning Eric.
Eric was given to the regiment during the winter of 1985 when the Marines were in Norway for cold weather training.
"It was the first winter we put Marines on skis and we really impressed the Norwegian Army," said Durrant.
For their hard work and sportsmanlike conduct, the Norwegian Army presented Col. Harry W. Jenkins Jr., regimental CO at the time, with the stuffed mink because minks are thought to be ferocious animals and the Norwegians believed the Marines deserved it.
The mink was on display in the headquarters building until a commanding officer came in and decided it was an environmental hazard and told Sgt. Maj. Sam T. Henderson Jr., former sergeant major of 2d Marine regiment who is now retired and working at SOI, to get rid of it.
"I took it home and put it in my attic ? and I just stored it there until Col. Kellner asked me about it," said Henderson.
Eric currently has his own display case in the front entrance of the headquarters building, but will soon have a new home in a mounted case with all other Norwegian memorabilia.