MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines with the School of Infantry-East, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were on hand to witness the ribbon cutting for their new barracks. Their new home was opened with a dedication ceremony, which was held March 30 at the covered pavilion on the grounds of the newly renovated barracks.
The barracks was named Loweranitis Hall in honor of Cpl. John “Jack” Loweranitis, who paid the ultimate sacrifice 45 years ago during the Battle of Getlin’s Corner in the Republic of Vietnam.
His selfless actions resulted in the posthumous awarding of the Navy Cross and Silver Star.
According to an article published in Leatherneck, “When the firing started, Loweranitis had fought his way through the mortar and machine-gun fire, grabbing wounded Marines on the hill’s slope and dragging them to safety. As the North Vietnamese Army assaulted, he calmly aimed his rifle and shot five dead ... Everybody wanted him around when things got hot.”
It is only fitting that the new members of the Corps, those infantry leaders of tomorrow, should know and take pride in the heroic deeds of this Marine, an extremely proficient mortarman who embodied the ideals of the “fighter leader.”
“This ceremony honors a fallen hero,” said Col. Barry J. Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of SOI-East. “It ties you, who are learning what it takes to be an infantryman, to those who went before you and made the sacrifice.”
Former assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Maj. Gen. Richard I. Neal, spoke of the solid obligation Marines take on when they accept the eagle, globe and anchor.
“That obligation is to make sure we look out for the men and women on our left, our right, in front of us and behind us and that obligation includes that if in fact something happens to them, they know that we will remember them and we will carry the memory of them throughout our lives … to our last breath,” Neal said.
After the ceremony, Marines, friends and family of Loweranitis were invited into the newly renovated hall for a reception and tour.
The barracks is currently occupied by the Marines of Company Bravo, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry – East.