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First Name: John

Last Name: LeJeune

Birthplace: Pointe Coupee Parish, LA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Archer

Date of Birth: 10 January 1867

Date of Death: 20 November 1942

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served:
John Archer LeJeune

•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


John Archer LeJeune
Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps

John Archer LeJeune was born on 10 January 1867 at the Old Hickory Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, LA, the son of a former Confederate officer.

LeJeune attended the preparatory program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge from September 1881 to April 1884, leaving to prepare for the entrance exam for the U.S. Naval Academy. Subsequently, he secured an appointment as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1888, ranking second academically in his class of thirty-two midshipmen.

During his two-year cruise as a midshipman, he was sent to sea aboard the USS Vandalia. He and his shipmates suffered through a devastating hurricane near Samoa that destroyed their vessel in March 1889. Convinced that sea life was not for him, he applied for a transfer into the Marine Corps. His initial request was denied, but his continued pleas resulted in his eventual transfer to the Corps in July 1890. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps on 25 July 1890.

The 1890s

After receiving his Marine Corps commission, Lejeune reported to Marine Barracks, NY, on 31 March 1890 for Marine Corps "indoctrination and instruction." He reported for duty to the Marine Barracks, Norfolk, VA, on 3 November 1890. While in Norfolk, he met Ellie Harrison Murdaugh and they were engaged just before he began his sea duty. From 1 October 1891 to 28 July 1893, Lejeune served on board USS Bennington and was promoted to First Lieutenant on 26 February 1892. On 28 August 1893, he reported for duty at the Norfolk Barracks, where he served until 31 July 1897. While stationed in Norfolk again, he married Ellie Murdaugh on 23 October 1895.

On 2 August 1897, Lejeune assumed command of the Marine Guard of USS Cincinnati, where he served throughout the Spanish-American War. He was detached from the Cincinnati on 17 February 1899 and, the next day, joined USS Massachusetts to command the Marine Guard. He was promoted to Captain on 3 March 1899 and left his position on Massachusetts on 10 May 1900.


From 3 July to 12 November 1900, Captain Lejeune performed recruiting duty at Boston, MA, and on 22 November 1900 reported at the Marine Barracks, Pensacola, FL, to command the Marines. From 12 January to 21 January 1903, Captain Lejeune was on duty at the Norfolk Barracks, going to recruiting duty at New York City on 26 January. He was promoted to Major on 3 March and was on duty at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, DC, from 15 May to 8 August 1903.

On 8 August, Major Lejeune was ordered to USS Panther to command the Marine Battalion on board that vessel, joining on 16 August. On 23 October, the Battalion, with Lejeune in command, was transferred to USS Dixie. From 16 December 1903 Major Lejeune was on duty ashore on the Isthmus of Panama in command of this battalion, leaving there on 21 December 1904, on board USS Yankee.

From 27 January 1905 to 20 May 1906, Lejeune served at the Marine Barracks, Washington, DC. He then returned to Panama in command of a battalion of Marines from 29 May to 6 July 1906, the battalion being transported both ways on board USS Columbia. This was detached duty, and on 29 March 1907, Major Lejeune was detached from command of the Washington Barracks and ordered to the Philippines. His wife and three daughters accompanied him on this overseas duty.

Arriving in the Philippines on 2 May 1907, Lejeune assumed command of the Marine Barracks and Naval Prison, Navy Yard, Cavite, on 6 May. He assumed command of the First Brigade of Marines on 15 June 1908 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 13 May 1909. He was detached on 8 June 1909 and ordered to return to the U.S. He then attended the U.S. Army War College, graduating in 1910.

Lieutenant Colonel Lejeune embarked on board USS Ohio on 26 May 1912 with the Second Regiment, First Provisional Brigade Marines, bound for Cuba. He disembarked at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on 8 June and was in command of the District of Santiago from 9 June to 14 July. On 15 July, Lejeune embarked on board USS Prairie and sailed for Colón, Panama. He spent 18-29 July at Camp Elliott, Panama.

After returning to the U.S., Lejeune was again called upon for expeditionary duty. He sailed from Philadelphia on 20 February 1913 as second in command of the First Regiment, Second Provisional Brigade Marines and disembarked on 27 February at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Lejeune began the Marine Corps Association with the goal of professional advancement among Marines. He returned to Philadelphia on board USS Prairie on 2 May.

On 27 November 1913, Lejeune sailed from New York with the 2nd Advanced Base Regiment, his ultimate destination being Veracruz, Mexico, but returned to the U.S. to receive his promotion to Colonel on 25 February 1914. Colonel Lejeune and his unit eventually landed in Mexico on 22 April and participated in the occupation of the city. He returned home in December 1914 to report to Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington to become Assistant to the Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps. He was promoted to Brigadier General on 29 August 1916.

World War I

With the outbreak of World War I, Lejeune assumed command of the newly constructed Marine Barracks at Quantico; however, his overseas service was inevitable and, in June 1918, he arrived at Brest, France. He was promoted to Major General on 1 July 1918.

Upon reporting to the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, he was assigned to command a brigade of the 32nd Division and assumed command of the 4th Brigade of Marines of the 2d Division immediately following the attack of the Division in the Battle of Soissons. On 28 July 1918, Major General Lejeune assumed command of the 2nd Division and remained in that capacity until August 1919, when the unit was demobilized. He was the second Marine officer to hold an Army Divisional Command (BG Charles A. Doyen was the first), and following the Armistice he led his Division in the march into Germany.

In October 1919, he again was appointed Commanding General, Marine Barracks, Quantico.

Commandant of the Marine Corps

Lejeune was appointed as Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 July 1920. Subsequent to that time, he left his headquarters at Washington several times for tours of inspection in Haiti, Santo Domingo, Cuba, Puerto Rico, to the West Coast and elsewhere. Upon the expiration of his second term as Commandant, Lejeune indicated his desire not to retire from the Marine Corps, but was relieved as Commandant in March 1929.

Retirement and VMI

On 10 November 1929, Lejeune retired from the Marine Corps in order to accept the position of Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). He served there until October 1937. In February 1942, he was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant General on the Marine Corps retired list.

Medals and Awards

Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with 3 Stars
Spanish Campaign Medal
West Indies Naval Campaign Medal
Mexican Service Medal
Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933)
World War I Victory Medal with 3 Clasps
Légion d'honneur, Commander Grade (France)
Croix de guerre with Palm (France)


U.S. Postal Service

On 10 November 2005, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Distinguished Marines stamps in which Lejeune was honored.

Statues and Memorials

On 10 November 2000, a life-sized bronze statue of Lejeune was unveiled on the grounds of the Pointe Coupee Parish Courthouse in New Roads, LA. Patrick F. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Taylor Energy Company, along with the retired Marine Corps Major General Ronald G. Richard (former commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune) were in attendance. Taylor, who financed the Lejeune statue project, joined the Marine Corps Officer Training program as a student at Louisiana State University, but a heart problem kept him from receiving his commission. Taylor commissioned sculptor Patrick Dane Miller to fashion it to be historically accurate.

Statues of Lejeune also stand outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia, in the center of the traffic circle aboard MCB Camp Lejeune NC, and the Louisiana War Memorial in downtown Baton Rouge, LA, next to the destroyer USS Kidd.


Lejeune, legendary among Marines and often referred to as "the greatest of all Leathernecks" and "Marine's Marine" served in the Marine Corps for over 40 years. In his honor, the following bear his name:

Camp Lejeune, NC

USS Lejeune (AP-74), Navy transport ship

Lejeune Hall, Marine Corps Barracks, Quantico

Lejeune Hall, Louisiana State University

Lejeune Hall, U.S. Naval Academy

Lejeune Hall, Virginia Military Institute

Lejeune High School, Jacksonville, NC

Death and Burial

Lieutenant General John Archer LeJeune died on 20 November 1942 in the Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2759   Created by: MHOH




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