The Marine Corps has a long-established history, which is cherished and preserved by all Marines who earn the title. The History and Museum Branch’s Base Archives Section aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton works to aid in preserving the history and distinguished legacy of the Marine Corps.
“It is the mission of the History and Museum Branch to collect, preserve, research, exhibit and provide educational programming to promulgate the history of MCB Camp Pendleton and its personnel for present-day and future generations,” stated Faye Jonason, History and Museum director, Marine Corps Installations-West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
In the early years of protecting Camp Pendleton’s history, the branch’s focus was mainly on existing historical buildings. When the property upon which Camp Pendleton stands was purchased in the 1940’s, these structures from the cattle ranch still stood. The Camp Pendleton logo, a cattle brand, serves as a tribute to that history.
“In the Base Archives, we care for original photographs, postcards, maps, plans, and original documents from the families who once lived on the Rancho Santa Margarita and from the Marines and Sailors who have served here since,” stated Jonason.
Marines from Camp Pendleton have served in every major American conflict since World War 2. Stories of these conflicts and sacrifices weigh heavy on the hearts and minds of every Marine today. As Camp Pendleton has developed over the years, the items collected have been from many of these remarkable moments in the Corps’ history.
“What would Marine Corps history be without those who built and established this base in 1942, when the United States most needed a Marine Corps force to fight in the Pacific Theater?” asked Jonason. “It was the Marines who had trained on this old rancho who raised the flag on Iwo Jima and drove home the significance of the Marine Corps to the United States.”
Relying on volunteers and donations, the History and Museums Branch and Base Archives Section within it ensure that the legacy of the Corps and of Camp Pendleton never fade. Carefully maintaining the archives to be shared with others is no small task for the team, and new discoveries of historical records and artifacts keep the Base Archives Section busy.
“Without a group of people dedicated to the preservation of the artifact and archival evidence of Camp Pendleton’s history and people, this piece of Marine Corps history would be lost,” stated Jonason.
First hand detailed accounts and photographs are valuable tools in understanding the past. By keeping the Marine Corps story alive, Camp Pendleton is better able to train the Marines of today. Learning from the legacy of each generation’s proud few, honors their service and sacrifice to this nation.
“Marines have always been proud of their history,” stated Jonason. “That history has inspired and taught the Marines of the past and will continue to produce this capable fighting force into the future.”
Earning the title of Marine forges a bond between all who wear the uniform. Since its beginning, the Marine Corps has always passed down lessons and legacy to the younger generations. Through learning from a history of both successes and failures, Marines can become as effective as possible. Through the work of the History and Museums Branch’s Base Archives Section, the preservation of this history and legacy are ensured for future generations to come.
For more information regarding the Camp Pendleton History and Museums programs, visit: https://camppendletonhistoricalsociety.org/