The School of Infantry aboard Camp Geiger is separate from Camp Lejeune proper, which is also known as Mainside. The main entrance to Camp Geiger is on US Highway 17, South of Jacksonville, NC. Camp Geiger is a vital training center unto itself. With nearly 20,000 Marines undergoing Marine Combat Training every year, it is a hub of activity that mirrors the original days in 1941 when the 1st Marine Division prepared to ship-out to the Pacific.
Following recruit training and graduation, new Marines go on to further their training. To do such, the Marines report to the School of Infantry located at Camp Geiger, MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Marines who are designated as infantry Marines are assigned to Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry for military occupational specialty training. After graduating from there, these Marines will be assigned to their first permanent duty station. All non-infantry Marines are assigned to Marine Combat Training Battalion, School of Infantry for training. MCT reinforces and expands on the basic Marine-combat skills learned in recruit training. Following MCT, Marines attend their MOS schools to learn the trade they are expected to perform for the Marine Corps.
The School of Infantry is located on Camp Geiger as part of Marine Corps School, Camp Lejeune, NC. The Camp Lejeune/New River complex is home to the largest concentration of Marines and Sailors in the world, with more than 143,000 people when the civil service employees, retirees and families. Camp Lejeune is also serving as a test-bed as the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab works to develop Marine Corps doctrine in the area of urban warfare.
The School of Infantry (SOI) provides Infantry Military Occupational Specialty qualification to entry-level infantry Marines, trains all non-infantry Marines in the infantry skills essential to operate in a combat environment, provide infantry NCOs and SNCOs with advanced infantry skills, and provides both infantry and non-infantry NCOs and SNCOs with the requisite professional military education (PME) and leadership skills to further their development as leaders within the Marine Corps. With its Marine Combat Training Battalion, Infantry Training Battalion, Advanced Infantry Training Company, and Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy, the School trains a combined total of approximately 20,000 Marines annually.
Marines of the 1st Division who were posted at Camp Lejeune during 1941-42 would not recognize today's Camp Geiger as the crowded Tent Camp they occupied before shipping out to World War II's Pacific Theater. The first Tent Camp consisted mostly of six-man canvas tents, 20 feet square, arranged in blocks on a gridlike street pattern. A second adjacent Tent Camp provided no better accommodations, offering fourteen-man "huts" made of sheets of compressed cellulose called Homosote. By the end of the war, corrugated steel Quonset huts replaced most of the tents, but the battered Homosote huts remained until the early 1950s when all the huts were removed. With new concrete block barracks, Tent Camp was rededicated in 1953 and renamed in honor of Marine Corps General Roy S. Geiger. Since the 1970s, Camp Geiger has been undergoing still another rebuilding to meet the modern-day needs of the Corps' School of Infantry.
Within Camp Geiger's Monument Circle are four monuments. One honors Lance Corporal Julius C. Foster (1938-1968). Lance Corporal Foster, a member of Company E, 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 3d Marine Division, was killed on 22 February 1968 by hostile mortar fire during the battle for Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. A second monument, installed by the Military Order of Devil Dogs Fun and Honor Society of the Maine Corps League, honors Marines who died in Lebanon during 1982-84. A third memorializes the service of the 4th Marine Division, which fought on Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima prior to its deactivation in November 1945. The fourth monument was erected in honor of General Roy Stanley Geiger (1885-1947), a pioneering Marine aviator and the namesake of Camp Geiger. General Geiger commanded the 1st and 3rd Marine Amphibious Corps, and the 10th Army briefly during World War II.
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