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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


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MCLB Commanding Officer reflects on three decades of service

By Pamela Jackson, Community Plans & Liaison Officer | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | June 30, 2020

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For a young man who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and enlisted in the Marine Corps, he never imagined his path would end 33 years later as the commanding officer of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. 

The Corps

Col. Alphonso Trimble will wrap up his two-year tenure as the Base CO on July 1 and officially retire from the Marine Corps.  However, for this Marine “maverick” he has never forgotten those who paved the way for him.

Trimble enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and he remembers his company gunnery sergeant telling him he would make a good officer and encouraged him to go to college. 

“I attended a college through the Navy Reserved Officers Training Corps scholarship program and attended Morehouse College in Atlanta,” he said.

Trimble went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Physics and was commissioned as a Marine Aviation Logistician.  He served the majority of his career and deployments in the Pacific, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, and the East Coast.

“My additional assignments included serving as the assistant Aviation Supply Officer for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29, the Aviation Logistics Operations Officer for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, the Future Plans Officer for Marine Forces Pacific, Commanding officer of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, Operations Chief for U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations Command and staff assignments at Headquarters Marine Corps, Office of Secretary of the Navy and Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy.” 

He was also in the Pentagon when it was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001.

Trimble noted his biggest influences are his family, particularly his father, mother, siblings and close friends because they keep him grounded.

“My dad’s advice to treat people they way you would want to be treated has always influenced me,” he said.  “Professionally, there are many leaders I have been extremely blessed to work with.  I cannot name them all, but a few who stand out as my biggest influences are Morehouse mentors who worked diligently to ensure our success, Navy leaders like Master Chief Jeffrey Hutchinson, Commander Fred Espy, Captain Gordon Fisher and Marines like GySgt Ford, Captain Jones, Maj. Steve Dowling, Hon. John Campbell, and Generals James L. Jones, Clifford Stanley, Carol Mutter, James B. Laster, Ronald Bailey, Walt Gaskins, Glenn Walters, Willie Williams, Dennis Hejlik, George Flynn and many others.”

Trimble remarked, “They stand out to me because they all are bold yet humble and took time to mentor, encourage, educate, scold, expose myself and others to opportunities and advocate on their behalf no matter how busy they seemed to be. I will never forget what they did for others,” he said. They are the reason I always take the time to mentor and give back whenever the opportunity presents itself.”

The Community

Trimble was introduced to most of the local Albany community leaders prior to his arrival during a reception at the annual Washington D.C., Fly-In, a Chamber of Commerce-led advocacy visit.  After learning of MCLB Albany’s tight-knit involvement with the community and decades of community service, he wanted to continue that tradition and even became involved himself.

“I believe it is extremely important to have that connection with the community to develop a shared understanding of each other’s challenges, roles, functions and capabilities,” he said.  Since less than one percent of Americans currently serve in uniform and less than 10 percent of our country are veterans, community service and close working relationships offer opportunities to connect service members with the communities in which they are stationed to help foster a better understanding of the military and the lives of service members and their families.”

The commanding officer added, additionally, for Albany, the community gets a chance to better understand MCLB Albany’s needs for professional and artisan skills, infrastructure support, mutual support agreements and environmental concerns, just to name a few.

Trimble has volunteered in the local community with Ties that Bind, a program that provides mentorship to young boys without a father-figure in the home, reading to students for Read Across America and worked closely with the surrounding school systems to advocate on behalf of the military children and families. On base, he has spent time planting flowers with children at the Child Development Center for Earth Day and speaking to visiting JROTC units.

He is also an active member of the Board of Directors for Albany Technical College, the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy, and an ardent supporter of the Albany Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee.

Dr. Anthony Parker, president, Albany Technical College, has worked closely with Trimble for the past two years as a board member and the two have forged a friendship that will no doubt last a lifetime.

“It has been my privilege to work with Colonel Trimble during his tenure as Commanding Officer,” Parker said.  “The input that he provided as an ATC Board member gave us the perspective needed to adapt our programs to MCLB Albany’s needs.  The entire community appreciated his willingness to immerse himself in our concerns.  I wish him and his family the very best during the next phase of his life.

Echoing those sentiments, Barbara Rivera Holmes, President and Chief Executive Officer, Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, cited Trimble’s leadership, community involvement and approachable nature as contributing factors for the continued strong partnership between the Chamber and the Base.

"The Albany Area Chamber and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany have worked in partnership since the installation was commissioned in 1952,” Holmes said. “It is through Col. Trimble's leadership nature that new avenues for collaboration were formed. I am grateful for his involvement in so many areas -- from workforce development to infrastructure to strengthening camaraderie among many partners, including throughout the Chamber's extensive Military Affairs Committee network.”

Holmes also noted, “Trimble’s  innovation, transparency and commitment to the symbiotic relationship between Chamber, community and Base have significantly advanced our joint competitiveness and positioned us all for continued success in the many years to follow."

As Trimble prepares to depart in a few days, he is proud of his team’s accomplishments and has put in place regular town halls and opportunities to thank employees for their hard work and dedication.  He is quick to give credit to others for what MCLB Albany has done before and since his tenure here.

Energy Resilience and Innovation

The Base has received national recognition in the area of Fifth-generation technology, is near completion of NetZero and other innovations. 

“The NetZero effort is where we produce energy from renewable resources to meet our energy needs,” Trimble explained.  “It will continue to add to the energy resilience of the base, and were excitedly awaiting its completion in late 2020.  This will be a first system of its kind for the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy, maybe even DOD. 

“As far as 5G goes, MCLB Albany was selected by the Department of Defense as one of four of its initial bases for prototyping and experimentation of 5G technology.”

Trimble said their initial role will be to assess smart warehousing use cases.  The selection was based on spectrum access, infrastructure and command support for the project.

“This is a great opportunity for our Marines, workforce and partners to experiment with prototypes and use cases that would utilize the ultra fast and ubiquitous connectivity offered by the technology,” he said.

It should be noted, “The results of the testing and experimentation of the technology will help to pave the way for enabling autonomous vehicles, machine-to-machine learning, real-time condition or predictive- based maintenance, augmented and virtual reality training and other opportunities not imaginable today and Albany will have a huge part in that,” he explained.

 Mission First: People Always.

“As I mentioned before, it’s all about the people you serve with and we have some great Marines, families and dedicated professionals with great sense of humor and humility that just made the time fly by,” Trimble noted. “People will seldom remember what you said or did, but they will always remember how you treated them.”

Roosevelt Howard, assistant to the commanding officer, MCLB Albany, said he will miss Trimble’s leadership, caring spirit, openness to listen to people’s advice, his humbleness, creativity, and most of all his friendship.

Howard continued, “His leadership style was one of humility.  He served as the commanding officer with a workforce of hundreds of Marines and Civilian-Marines under his command, most (of them) with families, yet many saw him has a people person. He is a man of few words with the heart of the people first. Regardless of the situation, event or circumstance, he is always concerned with the well-being of people first. Colonel Trimble understands the treasure in people and that is where his heart is.” 

Trimble offered the following parting words now that his two-year tenure is coming to an end in a few days, “Thank you to all of the Marines, Sailors, families, directors, special staff and personnel for your dedication and hard work.  I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve with this team of superb hardworking individuals committed to ensuring Marines are ready when the nation calls,” he said.  “It was wonderful to be a small part of this great community and come to work daily with a team of professionals focused on ensuring the installation is best postured to support our Marines, tenants and mission whenever required.”

As Trimble prepares to depart in a few days, he is proud of his team’s accomplishments and has put in place regular town halls and opportunities to thank employees for their hard work and dedication.  He is quick to give credit to others for what MCLB Albany has done before and since his tenure here.

“During my tenure, the team has enabled the base to execute numerous safe haven missions in the wake of a tornado and hurricane that provided shelter and training areas that enabled more than 6500 Marines and personnel from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., to continue to make Marines in the wake of the severe weather events,” he said.

Trimble noted the establishment of a support base for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Army Corps of Engineers for their mission to restore power to more than 37,000 Southwest Georgians and how they are currently providing installation support for Marines and tenants to maintain industrial base activities in the current COVID-19 pandemic environment.  

“This team has continued to pursue excellence in providing installation support and  modernization efforts, like storm and hurricane recovery efforts, NetZero, Warehouse Modernization, Smart Grid, and piloting programs for First Net, and Operational tech for Facility Related Control Systems, Condition-Based Maintenance initiatives and 5G testing and experimentation for smart warehousing.” he said.

Trimble added, “We are busy and have been extremely successful because the dedicated and innovative spirit that drives the team to attract innovative partners for scalable proof of concepts to be used at other installations as well. It’s never about you, but about the people first and foremost.”

Support to tenant commands

Col. Michael Oppenheim, chief of staff, Marine Corps Logistics Command, reinforced the comments of others regarding Trimble’s tenure at MCLB Albany.

“Your ego is just about non-existent, and you don’t think in terms of your personal legacy or bragging on your accomplishments or impact on us,” he said. “I want to take a moment to acknowledge and validate the efficacy of your leadership here.  You are a fundamentally decent human being (who) demonstrates an abnormally large amount of humility, and always (does) the right thing—for the Marines, Sailors, DoD civilians and the community.

Oppenheim said to Trimble during his farewell luncheon, “Your leadership is something I admire, aspire to and fall well short of. Your level of leadership—how you inspire the team and treat everyone—is the height of what we cherish in Marine leadership and what will continue to keep the Marine Corps viable into the future. If we had more leaders like you, the world would be a better place.”

Typically, the commanding officer is a three-year tour, but for Trimble, he will end his 33-year career with a two-year assignment.

“I think everyone wishes for more time when they really enjoy the people and the mission, but I take great solace in the fact that our Marine Corps picks great leaders to succeed us, he said. “My successor, Colonel Michael Fitzgerald will join a team of dedicated professionals who will assist him in shaping the installation for continued success in supporting our commands, tenants, and Corps.”

In addition, Trimble added, “I’m proud of my spouse, children and extended family members for their resilience and support of my military career.  I’m also proud of our Marines, Sailors and military families.  We have an outstanding workforce, a great team of essential workers and first responders who came to work every day during the pandemic with a smile on their faces to ensure their mission was completed.”

 Trimble noted he has served in many communities throughout his career and is grateful for the  close working relationship with the local leaders.  “I’m thankful for the support of the community and am impressed with young Americans who choose to serve our nation,” he continued.

Trimble emphasized, “As a matter of fact, no matter what is thrown our way (floods, tornado, hurricanes, pandemic), the team just keeps going to ensure the installation is ready to support the needs of our country.”

Base Sergeant Major Jeffrey Young said, “Colonel Trimble is the epitome of a servant leader. He treats everyone with firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion. He is the type of leader that inspires and motivates his Marines, Sailors and civilians to give their very best every day.

He has truly left his imprint in the hearts and minds of the personnel that work aboard the installation and the local community partners in which he serves and support.”

What’s next?

Trimble will retire immediately following the change of command ceremony, July 1. 

He plans to spend some downtime visiting family and friends and catching up on some honey dos, then find an opportunity to continue to serve.  “My dad always told me to leave things better than I found them, or at least do no harm.  I hope, at a minimum, I have done that.”

 


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