NAIOP San Diego, the local chapter of a national commercial real estate trade organization, is planning to build a monument at Miramar National Cemetery honoring members of the Marine Raiders Regiment killed in action.
The planned monument will replace one that the group installed at Camp Pendleton in 2011.
Designed by San Diego architect and former Marine pilot John Turpit, the Camp Pendleton monument was meant to be permanent but is being moved to Marine Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where the Marine Raiders will be headquartered.
The Raiders had been headquartered at both Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune but the regiment is being consolidated to one location.
“We feel terrible that the Marine Corps is consolidating to Camp Lejeune. We feel a loss for Camp Pendleton and San Diego with that great group of men and women leaving,” said Jeff Burges, treasurer of the NAIOP Foundation, the charitable arm of NAIOP San Diego.
If the Marine Raiders are moving to North Carolina, “the monument should be there,” Burges said.
At the same time, NAIOP wanted to have a place on the West Coast where families of fallen Marine Raiders could gather to remember those they lost.
“With the distance of 3,000 miles, you’re not going to see a lot of families going on a journey from the West Coast to North Carolina to visit a monument with any frequency,” said John Garrigan, a former Marine helicopter pilot and past president of NAIOP San Diego Foundation.
“It will be great to have a location that’s accessible in San Diego,” Garrigan said. “These guys have done so much for our country. We just want to have something there for their dependents, all their families and friends, some place where they can go and reflect.”
Tip of the Spear
Turpit said he hasn’t settled on a design for the new monument and wants to confer with Marine representatives.
“We need to make sure that we honor what they want, just like we did for the first one,” he said.
The design of the 2011 monument was based on the Marine Raiders insignia which includes a dagger, and five stars representing stars that make up the Southern Cross constellation seen in the southern hemisphere.
The monument is asymmetrical to represent the asymmetrical way the Raiders fight, attacking an enemy from land, sea and air, Turpit said.
“These Marines are what I refer to as the pointy end of the spear. They’re the guys that are kicking in the doors,” Turpit said.
Built by Burger Construction based in Sorrento Valley, the granite monument is meant to appear as if it’s coming out of the earth.
The 2011 monument is inscribed with the names of fallen Marine Rangers. Turpit said it hasn’t been determined if the new monument will have names engraved in it.
NAIOP spent about $30,000 on the original monument and expects to spend about the same amount on a new one, said Karen Burges, executive director of NAIOP San Diego.
NAIOP for more than a decade has supported Camp Pendleton Marines through its Adopt-a-Platoon and Adopt-a-Marine Buddy programs over multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Supporting the Marine Raiders has been an ongoing mission for NAIOP San Diego, said Mike McNerney, president of the NAIOP Foundation.
“We’ve had a lot of events for them over the years. We’ve sent then care packages while they’ve been deployed, we’ve had welcome home holiday parties,” said McNerney, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and executive vice president of Lowe. “They come to our houses and they bring their kids and we’ve watched their kids grow. It’s been a great experience for all of us.”
With the Marine Raiders leaving, Garrigan said NAIOP San Diego has adopted the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion based at Camp Pendleton.
“It’s a super unit with a storied history as well,” Garrigan said. “We’ll continue our support in any way we’re needed.”
NAIOP San Diego
President: Eric Hepfer
Headquarters: Del Mar
Business: Commercial real estate trade organization
Notable: NAIOP membership is made up of property owners, real estate developers, investors, and brokers.