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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany marked its 70th anniversary with a ceremony on the base, March. 1. The anniversary marks a milestone in the base’s history signifying seven decades of partnership and dedication to serving the warfighter and the communities in southwest Georgia in which they live. The installation was established as the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies on March 1, 1952. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Jennifer Parks)

Photo by Jennifer Parks

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany celebrates 70 years

1 Mar 2022 | Jennifer Parks Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is celebrating a milestone in the base’s history signifying seven decades of partnership and dedication to serving the warfighter and the communities in southwest Georgia in which they live.

MCLB Albany is commemorating its 70th anniversary.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is one of six commands under Marine Corps Installations East, headquartered at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The primary tenant command, Marine Corps Logistics Command, is headquartered at MCLB Albany and is responsible for maximizing material readiness and sustainment during peace, war and contingency operations.   

The base’s seven-decade presence means its mission has been ongoing since the Korean War.

“It has been 70 years of the community and base enabling the Marine Corps and protecting the nation,” Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, said. “This base has supported the Marine Corps for 70 years in defense of the nation.”

“Marines are rough and hard on gear. We are not easy on stuff and we go into harsh environments. (The mission) helps us to keep equipment as long as we can and make the most of taxpayer dollars. We are in the interface between industry and military,” Fitzgerald added.

Base personnel dedicate themselves to the success and welfare of its support commands and agencies, particularly MARCORLOGCOM and its components. Such components include Marine Depot Maintenance Command and Marine Force Storage Command.

The individuals working in the mission are Marines, Sailors and other service members and families along with civilian personnel. Support in meeting the mission is also found through relationships with entities based outside the fenceline.

“The consistent and steady hand of the Albany community has supported the Marine Corps,” Fitzgerald said. “This base stands out because it is a family – the Marines, their families and civilians. The work we do today could make a difference for many Marines.”

MCLB Albany serves as a safe haven for the Marine Corps and Department of Defense agencies within the Southeastern United States and Gulf Coast regions during times of threat and recovery from destructive weather and other emergencies, based on capability. State and federal agencies also use the base to stage commodities for disaster relief when such incidents impact the local area.

Use of renewable energy has increased at MCLB Albany considerably in the last few years. Various community partners have been instrumental in the development of projects involving landfill gas generators, a biomass generator stationed at the nearby Procter & Gamble plant, a borehole thermal energy system, electric vehicles and a solar farm.

All of this is leading to the installation becoming the first “Net Zero” base, a milestone expected in the coming months. While this is ongoing, the base is also bringing in green vehicles and charging infrastructure in compliance with a recent presidential executive order directing agencies to dramatically increase the number of electric vehicles in the federal government fleet.

The base also serves as the site of several pilot projects bringing the Corps to a more innovative age, including a 5G smart warehouse currently under development.

MCLB Albany, in recent years, has often served as a pilot site to test out new, cutting-edge infrastructure or technology before branching it out to the rest of the Marine Corps.

“The base’s unique size, in that it is smaller, allows the Marine Corps to invest in future technology to secure tax funds, and then it is expanded to the rest of the Marine Corps,” Fitzgerald said. “It is efficient and effective with the least cost to the public.”

MCLB Albany reaches out to external partners to find ways to share common goals and values, and build relationships having a positive impact on the Marines and the community. Such connections are built to extend far into the future.

“The community is the base and the base is the community. We work together,” Fitzgerald said. “Marines live in the local community and everyone understands what we do here.”

“There is a sense of pride in that it is the largest employer in Dougherty County. We are contributing to national defense and enabling Marines. The base punches above its weight class.”

The site MCLB Albany stands on has a history dating back to well before construction began. More than 200 Native American artifacts have been found on the east end of the base indicative of a hunting ground. This is evidence the site was used by Native Americans as a supply and resupply center.

Outside the main gate is a large oak tree now serving as a historical landmark known as Dubber’s Oak. It is named for Col. A.E. Dubber, who was in charge of planning and construction of the installation and insistent construction be aligned with the tree.

Marine Corps Depot of Supplies held its name from its activation on March 1, 1952 to July 1955, commissioned with Brig. Gen. Raymond P. Coffman assuming command. A small contingent of Marines established headquarters in temporary buildings.

The installation’s name changed two more times before assuming its current one on Nov. 1, 1978. The Marine Corps regionalized all its installations and the organization split into base command and MARCORLOGCOM.

A critical command subordinate to MARCORLOGCOM is MDMC. Production Plant Albany, within MDMC, has functioned as a maintenance depot resetting equipment for the warfighter since construction on the facility completed in 1954.

The work done there contributes to the safety and security of the nation. 

“MCLB Albany is home to the Marines and Sailors of the LOGCOM headquarters, and we all know that ‘there is no place like home,’” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commanding general, MARCORLOGCOM, said. “Happy 70th Birthday!”

An asset to the base’s Marine Corps Police Department is the Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee Kennel, dedicated on March 19, 2010. Lee died of wounds sustained in combat operations in Iraq on March 21, 2007. He had trained as a military policeman and dog handler, attached to MCLB Albany prior to deployment.

Lex, Lee’s military working dog, was injured in the attack that killed Lee but later returned to active-duty. Lee’s family petitioned for Lex’s adoption and was ultimately successful, allowing Lex to remain with the Lee family in Mississippi until his own death from natural causes on March 25, 2012.

Lex made history by becoming the first active-duty and fully fit military working dog granted early retirement for adoption.

An EF3 tornado came through Albany during its roughly 70-mile stretch on the ground on Jan. 22, 2017. The industrial sector of the base took a direct hit. There was more than $100 million in damage, power outages and multiple structures either damaged or destroyed on the installation.

No deaths or injuries occurred on MCLB Albany, with five fatalities reported in the Dougherty County area as a result of the tornado.

The base felt the eyewall of Hurricane Michael after it made landfall on Oct. 10, 2018 in Mexico Beach, Florida. It hit as a Category 5 storm and cut a path northward into southwest Georgia. Installation personnel tasked with assessing damage and orchestrating cleanup estimated about $40 million, with a devastating impact on the region’s agricultural industry. 

The economic impact of MCLB Albany was about $1.7 billion to the southwest Georgia area in Fiscal Year 2019, employing more than 5,000 active-duty military, civilians and contractors. The base spans 3,600 acres and supports more than 40 tenant organizations including Georgia Army National Guard, Albany Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic and Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

The base reached a historic milestone on Sept. 23, 2011 when the switch flipped on a $20 million generator plant designed to produce renewable energy by burning methane gas generated from a nearby landfill. It was the Department of the Navy’s first landfill gas-to-energy partnership, developed in December 2009 and including MCLB Albany, Dougherty County and Chevron Energy.

Another partnership resulted in the base becoming home to a 44-megawatt solar farm. The site, leased to Georgia Power, is 150 acres and contributes to the regional grid.

The expansion of broadband and training of the future workforce through curriculum programs at Albany Technical College and Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy are crucial to ensure mission success in the future.

These education partners have been called upon at times to shift their focus to meet the base’s need.

“They are extremely understanding when we need to shift how we do things,” Fitzgerald said. “As we enter a new era of data warfare, we are transitioning out of the industrial and digital age. This puts us on equal footing and lets us know we can sustain on-foot combat.”

“We have skilled laborers and community support to make it into that era,” the colonel added.  

Officials from the Marine Corps, Navy and Veterans Affairs came together for the opening of the VA clinic on the base on Sept. 19, 2014, co-located in the Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany facility. MCLB Albany was recognized May 5, 2015 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for superior excellence in health worker safety and awarded Voluntary Protection Program Star status.

Safety excellence is yet another achievement MCLB Albany is known for within the DOD.  MCLB Albany was awarded the Marine Corps’ Ground Safety Warrior Preservation Award and DOD Safety Award, among the other honors bestowed to the installation in recent years. The base is also a recipient of the Secretary of the Navy Energy Excellence Award for its accomplishments in energy efficiency.

 


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