NOVEMBER 15, 2016, By Sgt. Ian Leones, ARLINGTON, Va – Gen. Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the official unveiling of the Marine Corps Reserve Centennial exhibit wall display at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., Nov. 9, 2016.
The display is located on the fourth floor, A-ring, between the third and fourth corridors and stands opposite the pre-existing Navy Reserve Centennial display.
“The exhibit is meant to be part of one cohesive corridor,” said Elizabeth M. Inglese, project graphic artist for the Marine Corps Centennial. “It shows 100 years of the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve together.”
Even though the Centennial was celebrated August 29th, the wall was unveiled in November close to the celebration of the 241st Marine Corps Birthday.
“A lot of attention is given to the Marine Corps during this time of year, so it made sense to have the official unveiling of the exhibit now,” said Gunnery Sgt. Elizabeth Inglese.
According to Gunnery Sgt. Brian A. Knowles, project historian for the Marine Corps Reserve Centennial, the wall portrays what the Marine Corps Reserve has done in its 100-year history.
“It does this by hitting the wave tops of the major conflicts the Marine Corps Reserve has been activated for, dating back from World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom,” Knowles said.
The display is unique in that there are three life-size images of Marines in uniform that change as you walk by them. As one passes by the exhibit, the uniforms of the Marines change from World War I, World War II, and Korean War uniforms to ones from modern day conflicts.
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the Department of Defense and the wall display is located on the same floor as the Secretary of the Navy.
“I think it is important that you have a display because the decision makers in the Pentagon need to have awareness of the Marine Corps Reserve,” said Cori Parker, the project director for the Marine Corps Reserve Centennial.
Anyone who takes a tour of the Pentagon through the Pentagon Tours program will also be able to see the display.
“The Pentagon is almost like a Smithsonian Museum in terms of military history,” Parker said. “I think it worth mentioning the significant contributions of Reserve Marines for the public to see.”
Lt. Gen. McMillian stated, in a speech during the ceremony, that the Reserve Component has been ready to support and augment the Active Component since its inception during World War I.
“Throughout our history, every one of our units has been mobilized and sent down range into the fight,” Lt. Gen. McMillian said.
He also thanked the commandant for his support to the Reserve Component.
“They were ready to go, commandant,” Lt. Gen. McMillian said. “I want to express our gratitude and thanks for the support you give us in the Reserve Component to be part of the total force, and for supporting our history with the ribbon-cutting of this wall.”
While the exhibit highlights past accomplishments, Reserve Marines will continue to complete the mission of the Marine Corps.
“Reserve Marines have always been there to drop what they were doing in their civilian occupations and go back to being a Marine whenever and wherever needed,” Knowles said.
During World War II, by September of 1945, Reserve Marines made up 70 percent of total wartime Marine Corps personnel. Since September 11, 2001, more than 86,300 mobilizations from the Marine Corps Reserve have been mobilized in support of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reserve Marines have been fully engaged across the globe over the past 15 years of combat operations, serving as the essential shock absorber and force enabler for our Active Component.
Today, approximately 500 Reserve Marines are providing fully integrated global operational support to the fleet and combatant commanders. For information on the history and heritage of the Marine Corps Reserve as well as current Marine stories and upcoming Centennial events, please visit www.marines.mil/usmcr100.