JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - "The Walking Dead" --one of the U.S. military's most decorated units-- was deactivated on Friday at Camp Lejeune.
LtCol. Corey Collier explained how the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment became known as "The Walking Dead."
"Ho Cho Minh said that he was going to wipe the battalion out. He said, 'We are going to wipe them out. They're already dead man walking.' The battalion said, 'Come and get us. We'll take that name,'" recalled LtCol. Collier.
"The Walking Dead" spent 48 months in combat in Vietnam. LtCol. Collier said no other unit in history has seen that amount of continuous contact with the enemy.
Pat Dickson is another member of the unit. He enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 16. As soon as he blew out 18 candles, he headed to southeast Asia, where a war was raging.
"Each one of us has a story to tell. We don't tell much of it," said Dickson.
A month ago, Dickson and his "Walking Dead" brothers planned to attend the deactivation of the unit. He called Friday's ceremony a family reunion.
NewsChannel 12 asked Dickson how he felt after watching one of the most significant parts of his life be put to rest.
"Very sad to see that 1-9 is being deactivated. But at the same time, heartfelt that I was a part of that outfit and the fact that our legacy continues on," said Dickson.
But there is still a sense that "The Walking Dead" is just resting temporarily.
"They always need us. They'll want us back," said Dickson.
The Marine Corps said it's only a matter of time until "The Walking Dead" becomes reactivated in the future.