The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Robert Neller was in France ahead of the Centennial Anniversary of the famous Battle of Belleau Wood. On Thursday, he was awarded the French National Order of Merit. On Sunday, France celebrated the bravery of the United States Marines in a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne Cemetery in the village of Belleau.
Scores of American Marines were laid to rest at the Aisne-Marne Cemetery. It was one of the first American cemeteries created after WWI. France remembers their sacrifice, and are grateful. The Belleau Wood battle saved Paris from being taken over by the Germans.
This year, Commandant of the Marine Corps Robert Neller was honored with the French Legion of Merit- which is second only to the Legion of Honor. It is given to those with distinguished military or civil achievements, but only after 10 years of military service, according to the Marine Corps Times. He was also in France to award the Marine Security Guards (MSG) at the US Embassy in Paris the MSG Detachment of the Year.
On Sunday, the ceremony included participants from not only the United States and France, but Germany as well…even though during WWI at the Battle of Belleau Wood they were enemies.
The Wasington Times reported,
“The ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in the village of Belleau on Sunday included speeches by military officials, including Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, prayers, wreath laying, reading of poems and the national anthems of the three countries.”
The Washington Times noted that around 5,000 people attended the ceremony.
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Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller is presented an award at Les Invalides, Paris, France, May 24, 2018. Gen. Neller received the French National Order of Merit Award from French Army Chief, Gen. Jean-Pierre Bosser. (Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz/Marine Corps)