MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Time flies when you’re having fun, but as life would have it, all good things must come to an end.
On June 26, Col. C.N. Haliday, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., will relinquish his duties here.
Haliday assumed command on June 19, 2006, and admits it has been a challenging, rewarding and fun three years.
“We have enjoyed the base and the community during our stay and there were so many opportunities because of the area, the climate, the beauty and the community of the base. My wife Anne, and sons Nick and Tommy, have already moved to Virginia to get settled in, but will be back for the change of command,” Haliday said.
Haliday said some of the challenges he encountered were the newness and difference of the command.
“It was very different from anything I experienced during my career. The typical Marine officer who gets to the point of being selected for a command is one who has had a significant number of operational or joint tours and had some high-level staff time.”
“What is noteworthy is that I have never had any experience with bases and stations or any experience with the staff of an installation. My whole career has been as a tenant on a supported installation.
It was challenging because the business of running an installation was new and different due to my career path and that is probably the case with most installation commanders,” Haliday said.
Haliday added that among all of his challenges was the learning curve an officer with his career path had to figure out.
“I will admit that I was not completely comfortable until about nine months here. That being said, I did not have to do this alone. Having a dedicated staff of professional made the job easier than it would have been otherwise,” he said.
Haliday also said his tour here was also challenging because the business of running an installation is really a business.
“Other Marine Corps commands, such as operational and headquarters units, are not operated as a businesses, but as a military units. MCLB is both a military command and a unit, but the mission is also about running a business enterprise,” he said.
“During my three years here, we have had some great success in competing for and securing additional financial resources,” Haliday said.
He listed among the most notable projects: infrastructure improvements such as the roads; satellite fire station, which got the base back within Department of Defense guidelines as far as response times; underground water and gas lines being renewed; public private venture for new family housing units; and remodeling of the base exchange.
Haliday said, “The largest to date is the $16.7 million dollar major renovation of Building 3700 into the future Logistics Command headquarters, which is reported to be the largest renovation of a single administrative building that the Marine Corps has undertaken. It’s a very complex project because we have to renovate around the workforce while they continue their mission supporting the warfighter.”
According to Haliday, another interesting and challenging thing is that the base command’s Marine population is very small, fluctuating between 70 and 90.
Ensuring the Marines who are working among the diverse work force and keeping them motivated and ensure they are made true to their service culture as Marines has been a challenge.
“Because of our lack of training areas and being remote from other installations, it can be a bit difficult to get some of the required training done on an annual basis. We have significantly restored and expanded Marine training, such as annual swim qualifications, which we resumed by bring the instructors down here from Quantico,” Haliday added.
“We also have revitalized the Marine Corps Martial Arts program here, thanks to Master Gunnery Sergeant Marbury and others. These are just a few of examples of our renewed emphasis on training and readiness over the past few years.” Haliday said.
“Among my most rewarding accomplishments is re-energizing our Headquarters and Support Company,” Haliday said. “I think that is extremely important that Marines feel themselves part of a distinct Marine unit and that they do things Marines do. We have consistently tried to ensure there is a company commander, first sergeant, gunnery sergeant and clerk at all times to make the company the focal point of all Marine activity. I think we have been pretty successful, but our work is not done.”
For Haliday, these are just a few of the things that have been a success during his tour here.
“The relationship with the community has also been very rewarding. I’ve said it before and will continue to say that I have been stationed a lot of places in the Marine Corps in different roles, but without a doubt the relationship this base has with its local community is the best I’ve seen in terms of a positive, mutually beneficial relationship.
“It has been absolutely incredible. It has given Anne and me memories we will treasure for a lifetime,” Haliday said.
Haliday said that one of the most important things he wanted to accomplish, and did, was having the base to embrace continuous process improvement, which is a structured disciplined approach to improving operations, techniques and management of day to day missions and tasks.
Haliday continued, “It boils down to creating a culture comfortable with change that continues to ask the question, ‘why are we doing business this way?’ And, being unwilling to accept the answer, ‘that is the way we have always done it.’ There need to be good answers such as, ‘because it makes sense and delivers the most value to our customer’.”
Dana Whiddon, business manager, Business Performance Office, MCLB Albany, said, “Col. Haliday’s belief in Lean Six Sigma and the importance of improving the way we do business made all the difference. His strong leadership support was key to MCLB Albany’s successful deployment and sustainment of the command’s Continuous Process Improvement Program.”
“Looking back, among my greatest successes for the past three years, has been getting the right people in the right jobs, specifically the division and branch chief levels.
“We have had some change and turnover, but have been pretty successful with getting talented people who work well and collaborate together. Hopefully, this will make the whole greater than the sum of its parts,” Haliday said.
“One regret I do have is not getting out into those trenches more often and seeing the Marines and civilian Marines on their terms and in their workspaces. I wish I had gotten out more to do that, but that is just part of the demands of the job – to spend a certain amount of time focusing upward and outward on the needs of the tenants and higher headquarters,” Haliday said.
Haliday said even though he was not as successful as he would have liked to be in getting out of the office and seeing all the “great” people here on base doing what they do, he thanks them for their efforts, dedication and expertise over the past three years.
Haliday, a New London, Conn., native, has been in the Marine Corps for 25 years and leaves MCLB Albany for the Installation and Logistics Department of the Marine Corps where he will be for the next two or three years.
“I hope to make a difference there and provide those I work with some good leadership. I’m sure I will be managing something and, if given the opportunity, I’ll be looking out for MCLB Albany,” Haliday said.
Haliday said that he is not sure if this next tour will be his last, but it depends on how his family will be impacted by another move and on their needs.
“I think they are happy with the experiences they have had here. The boys have traveled the world and moved a lot as is customary with military families. It will be good for them to be within 30 minutes of family for a change and for the first time in their young lives,” he said.
Kent Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany said, “It has been a true pleasure to serve with Colonel Haliday over the past couple of years.
“I have admired his professionalism and dedication to the Marines, civilian Marines and family members aboard the base. He has initiated a great deal of new programs and ideas that will continue after he departs,” Morrison said.
“Through the avenue of this Emblem, I want to thank the Marines, all of the workforce including division directors and special staff, supervisors and all the troops in the trenches, both Marines and civilian Marines for their initiative and devotion to this base, the Marine Corps and this country. I also want to thank the community for welcoming me and my family and embracing us as well as sharing their lives with us. It has been a great experience,” Haliday said.
“My only advice for Colonel Williams is to hit the ground running, and I know he will because he replaced me in Belgium before I came here.
“Be open-minded and ready to learn new things and trust your people to take care of you, because they will,” Haliday said.