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Sgt. Maj. Frank Kammer Jr. assumed the role of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s sergeant major on Feb. 9. The Chattanooga, Tennessee native enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 1998, at the age of 31 and grew up in Georgia. Now that he is back to his roots, he expects to build on the current foundation at MCLB Albany to set up a legacy for the future. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Mason Coots)

Photo by Jennifer Parks

MCLB Albany sergeant major investing in Marine Corps future

27 Mar 2024 | Jennifer Parks Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Sgt. Maj. Frank Kammer Jr. assumed the role of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s sergeant major on Feb. 9, coming to southwest Georgia after serving as the command senior enlisted leader of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.

He now expects to build on the current foundation at MCLB Albany to set up a legacy for the future.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee native enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 1998, at the age of 31. He graduated from high school in Ringgold, Georgia and later made a living in various jobs in construction and computer programming until he saw a few of his friends come back from Operation Desert Storm.

“I knew something was missing and wanted to serve,” Kammer said. “I’m lucky and blessed, at 57 and serving for 26 years.

“My best friend was a Marine. Through his experience, it rubbed off on me.”

He almost went another way for his military service.

“I was offered a National Guard commission in Tennessee; my father was a second lieutenant in the National Guard,” Kammer said. “The Marines are known as ‘The Few and the Proud,’ so I decided to commit to the Marine Corps.

“My father knew I made the right choice.”

He attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and completed his primary occupation school at Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. He graduated as a precision measurement equipment calibration/repair technician.

His first assignment as a PME calibration technician was with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California. He deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch in 2001 with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 323 aboard the USS Constellation as the PME noncommissioned officer in charge.

Kammer was deployed during the 9/11 attack. He requested orders upon return to MCRD Parris Island where he served as a senior drill instructor and a Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival. He was meritoriously promoted to the rank of staff sergeant in 2005 during his tour as a senior drill instructor.

“It was a proud day for me when I stood on those yellow footprints,” the sergeant major said. “I volunteered to be a drill instructor; it gives you a sense of pride and belonging. And after 9/11 I wanted to be part of the training for what was coming, and prepare young Marines for leadership roles.”

He later transferred to MALS 26 at MCAS New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina and served as the avionics quality assurance chief. He was the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One road master in 2007 at MCAS in Yuma, Arizona.

His job as the MCLB Albany sergeant role is unique for someone of his background.

“I have been an operational Marine in my career. I am not usually in an installation role,” Kammer said. “My job here is to know the needs and provide for care and quality of life. It’s great to provide for Marines and their families.

“It’s a little bit different for me, but in the end, it is about building relationships.”

Part of this involves strengthening ties between MCLB Albany and the surrounding community, specifically in terms of keeping an active role in bringing industry to the region. That can be easier said than done.

“The base is not well known. I grew up in Georgia, so the personal ties reinforce my pride,” Kammer said. “We are uniquely suited to do more, to bring industry and technology down here. Georgians benefit from us being here even if they do not know it.

“We need to grow our nucleus out so we can be better used here.”

The sergeant major, while he is at MCLB Albany, is setting out to preserve the installation’s history. He also wants to look out for the active-duty and veteran community, specifically as it relates to the SkillBridge program.

“It is encouraging to junior Marines to see (investment in the veteran’s community and SkillBridge),” Kammer said. “We need more Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Centers closer to home.

“We are doing well in utilizing Marines. We probably could do a better job taking care of them through development of SkillBridge, All-Marine teams and quality of life initiatives.”

All this comes with the intention of constructing a lasting legacy for the base’s sergeant major role.

“Every Marine does things different. That’s why it’s important to get a vision laid out,” he said. “What you do today affects someone else down the road.

“We like to build on it and give it to the next person better than we found it … We develop our character to the point we need to listen to ourselves; we need to make sure the future generation is built up to take over.”

He volunteered to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with Marine Medium Helicopter 365 Squadron, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2008. and served as the avionics QA Chief for MALS 29. He was promoted to gunnery sergeant in 2009 and assigned as the avionics communication/navigation senior noncommissioned officer in charge for MALS 29.

Kammer requested and received orders to serve on his second special duty assignment as an assistant Marine officer instructor for University of Memphis Navy ROTC. He was a platoon sergeant for multiple companies at Officers Candidate School, and conducted two regional drill competitions across 15 universities throughout the United States.

He also served as the senior inspector for JROTC drill programs and conducted multiple OCS preparatory events across three states.

He was promoted to first sergeant in 2012 and received orders to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, Okinawa in Japan serving in "A" and H&S companies. He was assigned as the acting sergeant major, while still a first sergeant, for 9th ESB during the Korean Marine Exchange Program exercise in South Korea.

Kammer requested orders to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 2015. He deployed in support of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa, leading Marines during his deployment through exercises and operations across three continents. This was followed by the duties of acting sergeant major for the battalion during Mountain Warfare Training in Bridgeport, California.

Kammer was promoted to his current rank in October 2017 and received orders as the sergeant major of Combat Logistics Battalion 8. He assisted in planning and execution as the experimental battalion supported real-time parts manufacturing, unmanned aerial and vehicle exercises to support future combat operations.

He transferred to CLB 26 in Camp Lejeune as the battalion sergeant major in 2018 and later supported the 26th MEU aboard the USS Oak Hill during fleet operations in 2019 before receiving orders to the Marine Aircraft Group 26 on MCAS New River. Kammer then became the command senior enlisted leader for Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti in support of combined and joint operations as a component command of U.S. Africa Command, leaving that post in October 2023.

Next was his move to MCLB Albany. What comes after his time in Albany is not yet clear, apart from his passion for service.

“After MCLB Albany, I am not sure yet. Whatever my choice is I am sure I will support the military from another angle,” he said. “In the Horn of Africa I learned tools to use across other services.”

Kammer said that, while considering entering any branch of the Armed Forces, it is best to find a direction.

“To experience it you have to move forward. You have to have a goal, and to get a goal you need direction,” he said. “Make the first step in going there; making a mistake is better than not finishing the race.”

Kammer has an associates degree in computer science. His personal awards are Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold star.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany