November 20: John Archer Lejeune (1942)

Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune, often referred to as “the greatest of all Leathernecks,” during his more than 40 years service with the U.S. Marine Corps, led the famed Second Division (Army) in World War I, and was Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps. John Archer Lejeune was born at Pointe Coupee, Louisiana in 1867. He attended Louisiana State University prior to his appointment as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1888. At the expiration of a two-year cruise as a cadet midshipman he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. With the outbreak of World War I, General Lejeune assumed command of the newly constructed Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia. His overseas service began in June 1918 when he arrived at Brest, France. Upon reporting to the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, he was assigned to command a brigade of the 32nd Division. On 28 July 1918, General Lejeune assumed command of the Second Division. He was the first Marine officer to hold an Army divisional command. Lejeune is included on a plaque at Epiphany that commemorates parishioners who served in World War I.

Lejeune was appointed as Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1920. Shortly afterwards, he and his wife became associated with the Church of the Epiphany. Lejeune was elected to the vestry in 1921 and became Junior Warden three years later, serving for the rest of his time in Washington. Upon the expiration of his second term as Commandant, General Lejeune accepted the position of superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, serving there until his resignation in October 1937. General Lejeune died on November 20, 1942 and was interred in the Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is named for one of the ablest officers of the American military forces, and one of the most distinguished soldiers of World War I.

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