MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- After more than a year together, a time that spanned a rigorous pre-deployment training program and one difficult, but successful deployment to Iraq, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit celebrated its deactivation April 22, with a Battle Streamers Ceremony in front of the MEU Headquarters here.
During the ceremony, Marines from various sections of the MEU's command element took turns handing battle streamers to the commanding officer who placed them on the unit's colors as a narrator told the formation when and where each streamer was earned. This was followed by words from the commanding officer.
"For all the Marines and sailors of the 24th MEU, today is the last day of our activation as a MEU. We will deactivate today, only to reactivate in a few more months," said Col. Ron Johnson.
"Let me express to you my sincere appreciation for all the sacrifices that you have done to make this such a successful operation," he continued. "May God bless you and your families, and we hope to see you again and to serve with you soon, Semper Fidelis."
Following Johnson's comments, Erin Pugh, a kindergarten student from Carolina Forest Elementary School, read a message to the formation of Marines on behalf of her class.
"Our kindergarten class at Carolina Forest Elementary School began our flag project in January," she read. "With the help of our parents, we wanted to receive 1,000 American flags by the end of the school year. As of today, we have received 1,104 flags from 30 different states.
"We wanted to let you American heroes know that people from all over the United States were supporting you," she continued. "You are helping to make the world a safer, kinder place for us to grow up in. We want to thank you for all you do. Please take this flag as a token of our appreciation."
As the ceremony concluded, the 21 students gave every Marine present at the ceremony a flag marked with the name and address of the person who donated it to them.
The students then joined the Marines for a picnic closing another chapter in history of the 24th MEU.