CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- More than 150,000 civilians, former Marines and their families, family members of those currently stationed here visit Camp Lejeune annually.
Soon there will be a venue dedicated solely to exhibiting the historical evolution of the base as the home of expeditionary forces in readiness.
The Marine Corps Museum of the Carolinas' proposed displays will showcase the unique Marine Corps training in North Carolina (woman Marines, African-American Marines, the war dogs and barrage balloons) and the families that owned the land prior to government's acquisition.
The heart of the museum will be the II Marine Expeditionary Force and its elements: the 2d Marine Division; the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing; the 2d Force Service Support Group; and the various camps and their histories.
The museum board is looking for memorabilia from Cherry Point, Beaufort and New River Air Stations as well as Bogue Field, said retired Sgt. Maj. Joseph Houle, museum executive director.
Major Gen. Ray L. Smith, retired Marine Corps Base commanding general and president of the museum's board of directors, plans to break ground early next year.
The future site of the museum may be on a 7.5-acre tract of land off U.S. 17 along the New River where the Onslow Inn is located. City officials recently announced plans to purchase the land, set aside room for the 400,000 sq. ft. museum and build a civic center, hotel and conference center.
"This is a community effort. We will build it where the community lets us," said Smith.
The Marine Corps Museum of the Carolinas' is a non-profit organization that has been raising money since December.
"How good we make it depends on the contributions we receive," added Smith.
Construction bricks can be purchased by donors and inscribed with up to six lines of 17 characters each. Other tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Marine Corps Museum of the Carolinas, P.O. Box 32 Jacksonville, N.C. 28540.
For further information, call (9100 937-0033) or email MCMUSEUM@WNA-LINKNET.COM.