On 1 July 2009, in a Change of Command ceremony the oldest and most decorated division in the Marine Corps, the 1st Marine Division welcomed a new Commanding General, Major General Richard P. Mills, and said farewell to the departing Commander, Major General Thomas D. Waldhauser, who has been transferred to Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, in Washington, D.C. and has been selected for promotion to Lieutenant General, USMC.
The ceremony took place at Camp Pendleton, on the deck in front of the Division’s Headquarters, a building which has served as headquarters for every division commander since 1942.
The 1st Marine Division was activated aboard the USS Texas on February 1, 1941 and in 1942 landed on the island of Guadalcanal, part of the Solomon Islands. Since then, the Division has engaged in major campaigns throughout World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The Division’s regiments were in existence as early as March 8, 1911, when the 1st Marine Regiment was formed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 5th Marines were created in Vera Cruz, Mexico on July 13, 1914 and participated in 15 major engagements during World War I, including Belleau Wood, Chateau Thierry, and St. Mihiel. On August 7, 1917, the 7th Marines were activated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and spent the duration of World War I in Cuba and were disbanded after the war. The 11th Marines was formed in January 1918 at Quantico, Virginia, as a light infantry regiment. The Regiment went to France as an infantry unit, providing a machine gun company and a guard company. Decommissioned and reactivated twice between the world wars, the Regiment was re-formed in 1940 as a full-fledged artillery unit.
These photographs are presented in the order of the events of the day, beginning with images of the headquarters area, gathering of guests prior to the ceremony, followed by the formal ceremony, beginning with a concert by the 1st Marine Division Band. The sequence of events is described in image #16.
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It was an honor to serve in the 1st Marine Division with 'B' Co. 3rd Amtracs in Vietnam. The pictures of Division HDQTRS and the proud Marines in the photos brought tears to this old Marines eyes. I long to visit the 1st MARDIV again before I get too old. Had the privledge to visit Pendleton back in 99. - Fred Winfield, Sun, 5 Jul 2009 6:46PM
Awsome photos. Good job. - Jim Vincent, Fri, 3 Jul 2009 8:39PM