With the main base and six satellite facilities, Camp Lejeune and the surrounding community is home to approximately 170,000 active duty, dependent, retiree, and civilian employees, and is called the home of “Expeditionary Forces in Readiness.”
The barrack’s construction officially began on May 1st, 1941, and temporary structures were immediately raised in order to accommodate approximately 45,000 troops. By the end of 1943, the majority of the construction was completed. Thousands of Marines received all or part of their training at Camp Lejeune, making it one of the most complete Marine Corp training bases ever built.
The site – with its dense woods, reptile infested swamps, humidity, and insects— reminded the Marines of a jungle setting. One officer said, “[the] division . . . won’t be fit for anything but jungle warfare,” after training in these conditions. In the summer of 1942, Marines would be stationed in the Pacific where they fought in similar conditions. Another marine reportedly said, “If this place had more snakes, it would be just like New River.” General John A. Lejeune was a commandant of the Marine Corps from 1920-1929, and was a proponent of the amphibious assault plan, which would be especially important during WWII in Japan. The Marine Corps base was named in his honor after WWII.
Today, Camp Lejeune is a hub of activity and family-friendly living. Fitness Centers, theaters, housing, schools, and more, provide a connected community.