MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Since 1952 when the Albany Marine Base was officially commissioned, it has been a major player and employer in Albany and the surrounding area.
Although the organization and its people have been an integral part of the community for more than 50 years, the base's name has changed almost as frequently as the general officers who have passed through its gates.
The base began as the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies, changed to the Marine Corps Supply Center in 1954, was redesignated the Marine Corps Logistics Support Base, Atlantic, in 1976, and in 1978 became the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
Then, something unique happened that changed not only the base's name but also broadened the scope of its mission more than its initial planners could have imagined.
On Jan. 17, 1990, the commandant of the Marine Corps designated the commanding general at MCLB Albany to also be the commander of Marine Corps Logistics Bases, thereby placing control of MCLB Barstow, Calif.; the Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Fla.; and MCLB Albany Ð all the Corps? logistics components Ð under a single commander.
Change came again in 1998 when the Materiel Command was established and the base became a separate command, with a colonel as the commanding officer.
"The arrangement has worked out, because the base's commanding officer has done his job managing the infrastructure, it has freed the general officers of the senior commands to concentrate their efforts on greater Marine Corps logistics issues," MCLB executive director Gil Ward said.
Today, Col. Joseph R. Wingard is the commanding officer at MCLB. In this capacity his job is to ensure the base provides infrastructure and services to all tenant activities. Of course, his principal tenant is the Marine Corps Logistics Command, headed by Maj. Gen. Harold Mashburn Jr.
Wingard's command role is a supporting element, while Mashburn's command [LogCom] function has shifted to more of an operational aspect for the Marine Corps.
"After Marine Corps Logistics Bases merged with the Marine Corps Materiel Command, LogCom stood up," Ward explained. "With this, the base has only seen a couple of minor changes. Some functions the base had performed have moved up to the higher headquarters. The S-6 office has transferred and is now part of LogCom C-4. The training office also moved to LogCom. Other than those, the merger has had little effect on the base's mission."
MCLB's mission during its formative years was that of a regional supply depot. As it grew it took on additional responsibilities. One of the focal points of the base today is its Multi-Commodity Maintenance Center. The Corps and other services worldwide use the depot to repair their broken vehicles and equipment.
The base employs roughly 2,313 civilians, 673 military and 197 contract personnel, according to the most recent count.
"These are the individuals, Marines and Civilian-Marines, who make MCLB Albany work," Ward said. "In a real sense, they are the base. Our civilians really take pride in the title "Civilian-Marines." Many of them have devoted most of their lives working as part of this fine team. The defining measure of personal success for the Civilian-Marines is the success of the Marine Corps mission."
In addition, many professional organizations are available giving base employees practical avenues for enhancing their minds, skills and careers through professional education and networking.
The base also provides other services for the military member and their families including the Commissary, Medical and Dental Clinics among others. The base covers 3,619 acres of land, has 4.6 million square yards of open storage, 7.1 million square ft. of building space, 19 warehouses, 26 miles of railroad track and 51 miles of paved roads - a vast expansion from what the small contingent of Marines who established the headquarters here in 1952 had available.
"The base is possibly the only Marine Corps base without an encroachment problem and is the finest installation in the entire Corps," Ward concluded.