MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
Marines from Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, from the Korean War until 1955 era visited Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for their 25th reunion.
The Marines of Company F, most well into their 80’s, came to the base with their wives to meet with old friends and pay their respects to the ones who have passed away.
During their stay, they visited many sites from the base and also tested out some of the new technologies available to Marines.
“We went to the Joint Maritime Training Center and saw the work they did there,” said Arlen Hensley, a Marine with 2nd Bn., 5th Marines and also Korean War veteran. “We also got to get our hands on the different weapons they have at the (Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer), even some of the wives got into it.”
Afterward, they paid a visit to the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Egress Trainer. While there, they got to try out their skills at the Combat Convoy Simulator.
During their stay aboard the base, the veterans got to participate in many exciting events. However, they also took time out to honor their friends. On a sunny Saturday morning, they got together at the Base Protestant Chapel, where the handful of Marines held a roll call. Each name, more than 125, represented a past friend who has passed away since their first reunion more than 20 years ago.
While many of the veterans from 2ndBn., 5th Marines, have passed away, the ones that were still around took this one week out of the year to spend as much time together as possible.
Among the veterans was Pfc. Robert Ernest Simanek, a Medal of Honor recipient. Simanek was awarded the Medal of Honor when he threw himself on an enemy grenade to save his fellow Marines and was severely wounded in the legs. He is just one of many Marines from 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, who was awarded the Medal of Honor.
As the reunion drew to an end, the men of 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, had one final dinner, with Col. Daniel J. Lecce, the commanding officer for MCB Camp Lejeune.
As the reunion drew to an end, the veterans bade each other farewell and looked forward to their next reunion next year, each one hoping to see all the same familiar faces wherever their reunion will be held.