An eight foot tall Iron Mike stands pistol pointed at the sky and machine gun slung over his shoulder, a monument to Parris Island Marines who died during WWI. But wait, there’s an Iron Mike in Quantico, one at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and many others throughout the United States, there’s even one in France. So who is Iron Mike? Is the statue named after a real person? How do can you tell one Iron Mike from another? Why is he standing guard in front of Headquarters & Service Battalion?
Iron Mike is not a real person; he is a nickname used in the early 1900′s as the embodiment of an ideal U.S. soldier. That is why there are so many Iron Mike’s around. Luckily each one has an official name to help avoid confusion.
The bronze monument standing in front of the H & S Battalion Headquarters on the Depot is officially called the Monument to U.S. Marines. It was the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General John A. Lejeune, (pronounced La jern), who dedicated Iron Mike in 1924. Originally it stood in an area close to the old Taylor shop on Panama Street. In 1941 it was relocated to the corner of Blvd de France and Santo Domingo. Sixty-eight years later in 2009, Iron Mike received some restoration work to bring back its warm bronze color.
If you look closely at the picture I posted you can see the green patina. Now search for images of Iron Mike on the Internet and notice the rich bronze coloration on the new and improved statue. Better yet, stop by when you visit and see the statue for yourself. Take a few pictures and admire the ideal WWI Marine, dressed for battle; armed with a machine gun and pistol and ready to do battle.
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