Education

California congresswoman wants to rename Lejeune High School to honor the late Walter B. Jones

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, (D-California)

This story has been updated to include comments from Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Lejeune High School Principal Eric Steimel.

A California congresswoman has filed an amendment to the national defense bill to rename Lejeune High School in honor of the late North Carolina congressman Walter B. Jones.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat who represents parts of San Mateo County and San Francisco, and Jones were colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee.

Speier,  chairman of the House Armed Service Personnel Subcommittee, is the lone sponsor of the amendment to rename the school after the longtime Republican lawmaker from Eastern North Carolina who died in February.

“Walter [Jones] was a true gentleman and great friend,” Speier said in a statement. “It was my honor to include – in consultation with his staff, who still work for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District – a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to rename Lejeune High School for Walter Jones as a tribute to his work on behalf of his District, North Carolina, the country, and the United States Marine Corps.”

The amendment has the support of Jones’ congressional staffers, but the alumni of the high school don’t want to see the school’s name changed.

They have started an online petition to block a name change. The school is located aboard Camp Lejeune in Onslow County.

“We don’t want to denigrate Rep. [Walter] Jones’ memory or devalue his work, we just don’t want our school’s name changed,” said Ric Logg, who attended what was Camp Lejeune High School from 1978-81.

Logg is the administrator of a Facebook page for one of the school’s alumni groups. He started a “We the People” petition now signed by nearly 500 people. It needs 100,000 signatures to get a response from the White House.

“There are a ton of other things they can honor his memory with but renaming Lejeune High School after him shouldn’t be one of them,” Logg said.

The late Walter B. Jones.

Tanya Foreman, the secretary at Lejeune High, said students, staff and parents are opposed to changing the school’s name.

“We’re very upset about it,” Foreman said.

Meanwhile, Lejeune High Principal Eric Steimel, a 1980 graduate of the school, said he has a lot of respect for Jones who visited the high school a couple of times a year to speak to students.

But Steimel said he and the more than 6,000 graduates are opposed to a name change.

“There has to be a better way to honor Congressman [Walter] Jones,” Steimel said. “In Jones’ district, there are a lot bridges, roads entryways that could be named in his honor.”

William Morton, the district director in Jones’ Greenville office, said he and the staff there would “look favorably” upon having the school renamed in honor of Jones.

A staffer for Speier said Jones and Speier worked together on numerous issues related to national defense, and also worked to improve the lives of the men and women serving in the armed forces.

John A. Lejeune held the rank of Major General when this photo was taken. He was the 13th Commandant of the Marines Corps from 1920-29.

The staffer said the congresswoman attended Jones’ funeral in February and filed the amendment to rename the  school in consultation with Jones’ former staffers.

Jones represented the state’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Onslow County.

The high school of roughly 500 high school military dependents is operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity.

It was founded in 1944 as Camp Lejeune High School but was renamed Lejeune High School in 1990.

The base and the high school are named in honor of Lt. Gen. John Archer Lejeune. Lejeune is widely considered the greatest Marine to ever wear the uniform.

So, changing the name of the school isn’t something that’s likely to happen without a fight.

 

 

41 Comments


  1. TJ Smith

    July 23, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Many of us who attended this school have no hometown. Our parents were career military men, and due to their dedicated service to this great nation, we were uprooted every couple years (sometimes way more often) and moved all over the world. We consider Lejeune High School to be more than our Alma Mater. It is the only place we can reunite with childhood friends, friends who are scattered all over the country.

    Many of the young people who attended this school followed their parents into the family business., becoming Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. We don’t want anyone changing the name of our school, not even to name it after another Marine. A friend pointed out that our generation endured the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing aftermath together at this school. It is insensitive of Rep. Speaker or Congressman Jones’ staff to even suggest this change. The school is already named in memorium, it makes no sense to change it.

  2. William

    July 23, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Mr. Jones was born and raised in Pitt County, I believe. His home was in Pitt County. He did not live in Onslow County, the home of Camp Lejeune. He never had an office in the county. He is not a Marine or Sailor. He never attended the school. Name something in Pitt County for him.

    Bill Woolfolk, LHS Class of ‘83.

  3. Ray Steele

    July 23, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Do not change the name.
    Class of 1973.

  4. Greg Grantham

    July 23, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    She needs to shut her mouth. She has no dog in the fight and no right to change anything. How about to try picking up a rifle and defending this country instead of polishing a seat with your lazy and. Earn some of those benefits you’ve voted yourselves in on like us Veterans have. Lady, and I use the term loosely, you have earn anything. Like every other democRAT, you just vote yourself in and take. Feel free to contact me at anytime.

  5. R. Houser

    July 23, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Stay in California and leave the Marine Base along! Clean up your cesspool and Don’t bother with North Carolina.

  6. Jane Robert's carroll

    July 23, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    The Marine corps is 244 years old and based solidly on TRADITION. Mr jones did not represent the base as it is a federal installation. His office was in Pii County NOT Onslow
    I was born at camp lejeune and am a graduate of CLHS class of 64
    This is home for us. Please don’t allow a civilian to change our tradition

  7. Barbara-Anne Iverson

    July 23, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    When I attended in the 70’s, it was Lejeune High School. Long before then, it was Lejeune High School and called LHS.

  8. Veletta maxwell

    July 23, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Where can I sign the petition for No…. keep it Lejeune High I graduated in 1975

  9. Yolanda

    July 23, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    How dare this California congress women over steep her bounds! My husband a Ret. Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines and 4 children all attended Lejeune. We and many alumni are insulted.

  10. Kim Vick

    July 23, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Leave Lejeune High School alone. If they want a school named after him, do a county school. Their always guiding new ones here.

  11. Denise Souza

    July 23, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    I don’t believe Walter Jones would want this.

    Sincerely
    Sister of Alumni

  12. W mulligan

    July 23, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Leave it lejeune. Their are other things that can be named after him. Changes the school names touches many people that have walked the school halls. Too many of our traditions are being changed. For the new ages. Just leave it like it is

  13. Louise Bacon

    July 23, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    Unbelievable! Name something in Ca. This is shameful, unheard of. Not even a Marine, I hope it does work out. No do not change!

  14. Patti Sears

    July 24, 2019 at 6:49 am

    As a 1969 graduate of Camp Lejuene High School and a daughter of a 33 year career Marine, I agree with TJ Smith. There is no good reason for the change, especially to name it for someone that was not a Marine and did not represent Onslow County.

  15. Elaine Day

    July 24, 2019 at 8:02 am

    No thank you, Jackie Speier. Stay on your side of the country, leave North Carolina alone, if we want to change names on anything over here we will. Maybe you should be a little more concerned with some very serious problem you have over there. This is a problem with politics, you all waste time & money on such trivial stuff.

  16. Tim O

    July 24, 2019 at 8:02 am

    I graduated from Lejeune HS in 1977. My Dad gave 23 years of his life to the USMC, gladly I might add.

    A USMC commandant outranks a US Congressperson… any day in my book. Let them rename a federal building, a bridge, a park, a toilet (sorry that was disrespectful… BUT SO IS trying to RENAME LEJEUNE HS!).

    Please help stop this tragedy. Left LHS alone!

  17. Wayne Williams, Class of ‘84

    July 24, 2019 at 9:16 am

  18. Mark Cartwright

    July 24, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Leave the school alone! Some kids who graduate from that school follow in their parents footsteps and join the military.. you’re from California, stay there!

    Class of 2010

  19. Alicia Anderson

    July 24, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Please don’t change the name of the school. There are lots of other ways to memorialize the memory of Walter Jones. Do something in his home county, Pitt county. Leave Lejeune High school alone. It’s name is of a great Marine as it should be.

  20. Susan Langham

    July 24, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Name a commissary, a mess hall or a hospital clinic for Rep. Jones. It would actually be more visible than the school.

  21. Jacob Johnson

    July 24, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Hats off to Mr. Jones’ work and his memory. I surely understand wanting to commemorate him in this manner, but what I don’t understand is why you would pick something that wasn’t tied to him in any way, or something located in a place that wasn’t where he lived and worked. That’s like saying, “Oh, Art Neville died? Let’s rename a fountain after him in Anchorage…” Is that seriously the best kind of thinking an elected official can turn out?

  22. Dawn

    July 24, 2019 at 11:59 am

    As a graduate of 1996 I don’t want the school name changed. It needs to be left alone. It’s a DOD school not a public school. Name something else after jones

  23. Richard Logg Sr.

    July 24, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    I am honored to have my Son, Ric Logg, speak on behalf of the Alumni from LeJuene High School. I assure you all that his motivation is pure Former Marine and his family heritage includes 103 years of Marine Corps and Navy Service by our family. I would urge the Congresswoman to consider another approach to the educational enrichment of our children, such as building another school, in honor of this person she wants to honor, and leave our National & US Marine Corps history alone. You can only do harm to our proud Graduates of Lejuene, and that would only TAINT the name of the person you wish to honor anyway. Imagine how you would be remembered if you were to tear down someone else to gain your fame!

  24. Richard Hatsell

    July 24, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Do not change the name. The Marine General it is named in honor of is a hero! Keep the name in his honor!

  25. Rebecca Cylc

    July 24, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I have lived in and around Onslow County for more than 40 years. We have always had a Lejeune High School and we ALWAYS will. You, ma’am, have NO business changing anything in a state which you DO NOT LIVE! Stay in California, you’re not ready for tackling the HARD WORKING FOLKS OF NORTH CAROLINA!

  26. Amanda Riffel

    July 24, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    No do not change it.

  27. Jan H. Brown

    July 24, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Congresswoman Jackie Speier, with all due respect, please stick to your job in California. I cannot imagine what your agenda is in proposing a change to the name of a school that is located in Onslow County, North Carolina, albeit on Federal property. This suggestion of yours is a slap in the face to every student and alumnus who ever attended Lejeune High School, not to mention the Lejeune Family. Walter B. Jones would not want this. No one would.

    Showing up a couple of times a year at various schools in one’s district is nothing special. It’s expected. It’s what we the citizens pay your salaries for – to represent and inform. We are very happy with the name “Lejeune High School”. We have a lovely park named for Mr. Jones in Havelock, NC. That said, if you would like to donate a couple of million dollars in his name, I’m sure some school in Onslow County would be honored to build a new Media Center / Library in Mr. Jones’ name. But please do not try to rearrange our proud military history or erase our local military traditions.

    Oh… have your proposed this idea to Camp Pendleton? Perhaps Henderson Hall? Maybe you should. :)

  28. Deborah Enderli

    July 24, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    I have some input in stead of renaming the high school aboard camp lejeune why not renamt the newest of gates into the base off Hwy 24. West Gate . Then more than just active duty personnel will be able to honor Jones as well.
    As a native to Onslow County it would only make since t to name the school after Jones if he had attended the school.
    I am not saying that what he has done for our military is not deserving or to be taken lightly, at all, but to honor him in the county would be a much larger honor.

  29. Cynthia Brown

    July 24, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    I attended Lejeune High School from 1987 – 1989. We ARE the Devil Pups and will always be. Do NOT change the name!!! Military Brat of 27 years.

  30. Anthony

    July 24, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Has anyone contacted the Lejeune family, as they had just recently successfully petitioned the government and the USMC to use/sanction the proper pronunciation of the name. I can’t imagine they would take this affront lying down.

  31. Tim Conrady

    July 24, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    I believe Mr. Jones was in the Army reserves, look at going to Ft. Brag not a Marine corps installation. A lot of us dependents call Canp Lejeune homeland most of us are connected through LHS.

  32. Campbell

    July 24, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Most of the students who have attended and are attending Lejeune High School have no affiliation with the state of North Carolina. We simply have stumbled upon it through our journeys of the military. Although we are appreciative of what Walter Jones has done, we would kindly like to decline the name change offer. Lejeune alumni relate to General Lejeune, as he displayed many of the same values as us and represents the history of the Marine Corps. Don’t devalue his accomplishments as a Marine and rename the school after a politician, whom many alumni can’t relate to.

  33. RALPH W CATON

    July 25, 2019 at 9:15 am

    DP NOT MAKE THE NAME CHANGE. CARRY ON WITH THE CURRENT NAME.

  34. Joe Davis

    July 25, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I attended CLHS for 10th and 11th grades, and would have graduated class of 1968 but back then when your father was deployed — as mine was to Vietnam — you had to leave base housing and base schools, so we moved to Jacksonville and I finished high school there, without really knowing anybody. But I am still proud of Lejeune High School and consider it my alma mater, I am still proud of General Lejeune and what he accomplished, and I consider all of the Marine Corps brats who attended the school as my lifelong friends and colleagues. We all led the itinerant life of Marine dependents, never living in one place for more than two years, having no home town, and having only each other as a community. It would be a travesty to change the name of the school which means so much to all of us.

  35. Robert H Quinter

    July 26, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Inappropriate to memorialize a politician aboard a USMC facility. Let us remember our own and be as apolitical as possible.

  36. Broden

    July 27, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Mr. Jones has nothing to do with the Unites States Marine Corps or the dependents of these servicemen and women, whom attend this school. Frankly naming the school after such a man would mean nothing positive to the community as he was never a member or affiliated with the base. There is plenty more this man was associated with that would be sensible to honor him with, our school will not be one of those things.

    Class of 2019

  37. Carole

    July 28, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    We need to stop the practice of naming things for politicians and naming things after politicians in other people’s states by out-of-state congress members is abhorrent. If the congresswoman wants to honor Jones, I suggest she rename her children or a high school in her district, but locals should make decisions for locals. I am a former military dependent and graduate of a military high school and our traditions aren’t for politicians to decide. Leave Lejeune alone. This is not the place for political payback. Grads of military dependent schools have proud traditions. I find this offensive in every way.

  38. Martha Clemen

    July 28, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Do not agree HS should be renamed with someone who never a Marine.

  39. Corky Valliere Loewenguth

    August 1, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    The school is already named after a Hero. Leave it alone out of respect for Him.

  40. Judith Peterson

    August 2, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Abhorrent that politicans wants to insert themselves into Military traditions. I agree with every disagreement on this link. Leave Lejeune High School’s name as it is. I graduated from this high school. It’s MY tradition. Don’t mess with it.

  41. Thomas J Ryan Sr.

    August 3, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    It is obvious that the Lejeune High School is appropriately named after Major General John Archer Lejeune a well known historic Commandant of the United States Marine Corps versus a Congressional Walter B. Jones Rep. of the 3rd Congressional District. The school is located within Camp Lejeune, a well known US Marine Corps Base on the east coast of North Carolina. There is absolutely no valid reason or logical thought that the name of the school should be changed. The effort to rename the school lacks a positive thought by most all who are aware of this endeavor, alumni, students, parents of students and US Marines that served on this very large base over the many years. It is supported by Jackie Speier who is a Congressional Representative in California and others. Their true purpose is not obvious in this endeavor. It is ridiculous and a waist of time for such a high level government official to be the author and support such a minor endeavor that lacks strong evidence and local support.. Please eliminate any reality in their thinking. Their plan will take away true traditional value and replace it with absolutely no real tradional value at all.

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