Lieutenant general leaves Marine Corps after 34 years of service

A career that spanned three decades and was described as “tremendous” was honored last week.

A retirement ceremony was held Friday morning at Marston Pavilion on board Camp Lejeune for Lt. Gen. William “Mark” Faulkner, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for Installations and Logistics.

Faulkner was born at Cherry Point and is a 1978 Havelock High School graduate.

“It’s a great way to wrap up a tremendous career,” Faulkner said. “I’m very honored to work with so many great Marines over the course of my career. And it’s really special … doing it here in eastern North Carolina.”

Faulkner concluded nearly 34 years of service at Camp Lejeune where he began his career, first as a second lieutenant infantry officer with 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment in 1983.

His ties to area run deep. Besides serving two additional tours at Camp Lejeune, he graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville and is the son of a career Marine Corps pilot. Additionally, he met his wife Janet at Cherry Point, who is also the daughter of a Marine Corps pilot. Even the Faulkners’ daughters were born in North Carolina.

Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, shared his memories and praise for Faulkner during the ceremony.

“It was really special to have the assistant commandant come down and be my retiring official,” said Faulkner, who received the Distinguished Service Medal among his many honors during the ceremony. “Obviously he’s got a lot going on, so for him to come down and be part of this ceremony is very nice.”

Faulkner’s family and friends were present at the ceremony as well. Kate Faulkner, one of his daughters, shed a few tears while watching her father retire.

“Both of my grandfathers are in the Marines, so the Marine Corps is what my family knew,” she said. “He’s a very good role model. He worked hard to be where he is today. ... This is just surreal.”

While he has not formally announced any post-retirement career plans, Faulkner said he intends to settle in New Bern and will take several months off to spend time with family.

“I feel like I have too much gas left in the tank to retire,” Faulkner said. “I might play a little bit of golf, spend some time with the grandkids, and then get back to work. Still going to be connected with the Marine Corps. I really invested too much into the Marine Corps to just cut ties in total.”

Kate Faulkner, who lives in Raleigh, said she is looking forward to spending some quality time with her father now that he has retired.

“I think there is nothing like the Marine Corps family,” Faulkner said. “When we deploy, although they certainly miss the spouse, it really pulls the family closer together ... and what it produces out the other end is just a great American citizen.”

Karissa Blackburn is a reporter for the Jacksonville Daily News.