In a ceremony held aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune on Nov. 8, the Wilson Gate and Boulevard were dedicated to the late 26th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Louis H. Wilson.
Wilson’s daughter, Janet Taylor and her husband, Jarred along with Brig. Gen. Julian D. Alford, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations-East, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, cut the ribbon officially dedicating the gate and road.
“It’s quite exciting knowing that the Wilson Gate is being dedicated to (the late) General Wilson,” said Fernando Schiefelbein, base operations specialist. “No one hesitated in supporting this event. They all wanted to be part of it and the reception center(personnel) were more than helpful to make this happen. I felt extremely honored just to be part of it. My part was small but it was teamwork that put it together.”
Construction on the gate and road started approximately seven years ago.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Taylor. “My father was an innovator and he was a forward thinker for the Marine Corps and for our family. He was always thinking about tomorrow and the best way to get there.”
When Wilson was a lieutenant, he was deployed to the Pacific theater with 9th Marines in February 1943, making stops at Guadalcanal, Efate and Bougainville. He was promoted to captain in April 1943. During the assault on Guam, while commanding Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, Wilson earned the nation’s highest honor for heroism in combat when he and his company repelled and destroyed a numerically superior enemy force. Because of wounds received, he was evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California where he remained until Oct. 16, 1944.
Wilson returned to duty as the commanding officer for Company D, MCB Camp Pendleton. In December 1944, he was transferred to Washington, D.C. While in Washington, he was presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman for his actions during the battle of Guam. He was promoted to major in March 1945.
Wilson was promoted to general on July 1, 1975, when he assumed the title Commandant of the Marine Corps. As commandant, Wilson repeatedly stressed modernization of the post-Vietnam Marine Corps. He insisted on force readiness, responsiveness and mobility by maintaining fast-moving, hard-hitting expeditionary units, each consisting of a single integrated system of modern ground and air-delivered firepower, tactical mobility and electronic countermeasures.
“He was a great father and a great leader. I think history proves what a great job he did and to have the road named after him just caps that off,” said Taylor. “I loved the way he embraced life and I miss him dearly, but it’s great to see his legacy here.”