Gen. Alexander Vandegrift's family sees Camp Pendleton for first time

Vandegrift lead 1st Marine Division into battle

CAMP PENDLETON - There are many in terms of Marine Corps legends, and Gen. Alexander Vandegrift is certainly one of them.

He was the first to lead the 1st Marine Division at the then newly-formed Camp Pendleton into battle in the Pacific, specifically Guadalcanal.  

"I knew my great-grandfather had a presence but I never realized the magnitude until I came here," said Serina Vandergrift, the great-great-granddaughter of the late general who along with great-granddaughter Valerie visited Camp Pendleton for the first time.  

"You know, growing up I would see the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross and all the other medals, but seeing the 1st Marine Division is incredible, it really is," she said.  

The first thing Vandegrifts noticed were the huge signs bearing the family name.  

"I didn't know there was a street, let alone a boulevard that seemed to go on forever at the base," Valerie Vandergrift said.

The two were also shown the historic Ranch House on the base which became the residence for base commanders until 2007.

 The Vandergrifts would later go to Naval Base San Diego to see the guided missile frigate that bears the family name.

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