CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – It was a bittersweet ceremony the morning of April 1, 2015, as Marines and sailors with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines said farewell and cased their colors aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Friends, family members and prior service members attended the deactivation ceremony to show their support for the “Hell in a Helmet” battalion, which has received numerous honors and citations extending back to World War II.
“We all understand the significance of the ceremony today,” said Maj. Gen. Brian D. Beaudreault, commanding general of 2nd Marine Division. “This isn’t a somber day; this is a day to celebrate the accomplishments [of 2/9] and to honor the sacrifice of those that aren’t in our ranks. You were well-led, sustained high readiness and increased your readiness in an area of amphibious operations that had not been done in recent times. The reputation that you have established throughout the pacific is one that you can take great pride in.”
The battalion was originally activated in 1942 at Camp Elliott, in San Diego, California, and assigned to the 2nd Marine Division. They fought in numerous campaigns during World War II and were deactivated in December 1945. They have been reactivated twice since then, deployed to some of the most hostile environments, including Marjah, Afghanistan, and lived up to their nickname “Hell in a helmet”.
“The Marines and sailors you see standing amongst you represent those who have carried ‘Hell in a Helmet’ from April 1, 1942,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Davis, the commanding officer of 2/9 and native of Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. “It wasn’t as nice and neat as it is today. It was unknown if we were going to make this legacy: 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. Pearl Harbor had been bombed five months ago, we were at war with imperial Japan, Germany and Italy. We weren’t sure if this experiment we called the United States was going to make it, but the Marines had no such qualms. It was just going to be a matter of time, in places like Bougainville, the northern Solomons, Guam and Iwo Jima, that it was written in blood, ‘Hell in a Helmet’’.
Davis closed by thanking the service members of 2/9 for their hard work and encouraging them to maintain the
standards they’ve set.
“To the Marines and sailors, you continue to be a magnificent example of applying elegant violence to enemies of this republic,” said Davis.