MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- Building 3700 is no longer the Marine Corps Logistics Bases headquarters. The first office to the left of the front entrance no longer houses the commander. The former commander's photo, displayed around various subordinate organizations are being collected for historical files. Almost everything related to Brig. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich is fading at the newly-named Marine Corps Logistics Command everything except his unmatched legacy.
Kramlich arrived at MarCorLogBases April 7, 2000, as a full bird colonel. Back then, the command stood on shaky ground.
Terms such as the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, A-76 studies, and murmurings of a possible reduction in force kept the workforce on edge. The command's financial picture wasn't pretty, and to make matters worse contractors were everywhere and Maintenance Center customers were considering pulling work from the depot.
From the outside looking in, the situation appeared to be one of the most challenging any brigadier general-select could face. Yet Kramlich took it all in stride.
In his three-plus years here the command has made a 180-degree turn. Today, the terms 'BRAC' and 'RIF' seem to motivate employees rather than scare them.
A-76 studies still exist, though they don't generate much talk. Contractors are less visible and the Maintenance Center is now making money instead of being in the "red." The future appears bright, and it's largely attributed to Kramlich's leadership and guidance.
It almost seems fitting that the MarCorLogBases command has merged with Materiel Command and taken on a new name as Kramlich departs. His administration is unmatched.
During the consolidation ceremony in which MarCorLogBases merged with MatCom, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Michael Hagee, expressed gratitude for Kramlich's service at Albany in a letter.
"Rich, you can take great pride in the superb performance of the Marines, Sailors and Civilian-Marines under your charge," Hagee wrote. "Their tireless devotion to duty along with your guidance and mentorship ensured that the command fulfilled its vital role of helping to maintain the combat readiness of the Marine Corps.
"The contributions of the Corps" logistics bases are instrumental to the logistical readiness that is necessary for our nation's success in the global war on terrorism," Hagee's letter continued.
"Due largely to your leadership and vision, the quality of life on our logistics bases significantly improved during your tenure. You and Gail are to be commended for your effectiveness in championing key initiatives that have increased the morale and espirit-de-corps among the commandÕs many service members and civilians, as well as their families."
It is evident, Kramlich's passion lies in motivating people. In doing so, he took the LogBases command to new heights. Many describe the brigadier general as personable, caring, dedicated and a leader by example. He has the uncanny ability to get the most out of people through compassion and a hands-off style.
As LogBases commander, Kramlich created an environment where both Marines and civilians felt they could openly express their opinions without being criticized.
"General Kramlich is a charismatic leader," said Capt. Jayson Durden, Kramlich's first aide-de-camp. "He lets his subordinates know what he wants accomplished and gives them the latitude to get it completed.
"When meeting new people," Durden continued, "he could always find a common link to talk about and had a way of making people feel comfortable around him. They always knew he had a genuine concern for them and for the conversation."
Like most Marines, Kramlich always put the mission first. Yet his wife Gail explained that he quickly found solace when away from the job.
"His free time revolves around sports and music," Gail said. "He never misses a chance to get out on the golf course and has really enjoyed Saturday mornings at Twin Oaks."
Kramlich's secretary, Kathy Bunch, echoed his love for sports and shared her baseball rivalry with the general.
"General Kramlich's also a big Atlanta Braves fan," Bunch said. "He really enjoyed traveling to Atlanta to catch a game every now and then."
"Just kidding," she said. "He's a great Phillies fan, and we spent the baseball seasons ribbing each other about our teams."
Lighthearted and personable, Kramlich was also firm and well versed in many areas.
"We could be talking about football one minute, current events the next and then he could draw me a diagram of the Pacific Campaign during World War II and explain who led what and the significance of each battle," Durden said.
"General Kramlich always practiced leadership by example," Durden continued. "He completed the Martial Arts Program with Marines, always ran his PFT on time and with a first class, no less. His intelligence and experience always amazed me."
Moreover, Gail, who has been by Kramlich's side longer than the 30 years he's been in the Corps, is by many accounts, just as amazing. Cut from the same cloth as the well-liked general, she is very supportive, down-to-earth, caring and has a "motherly-touch" about everything she does, according to Bunch.
"Both General Kramlich and Gail are warm, caring people and they show it in their daily walk," Bunch said. "Losing them is a huge loss for the city of Albany and the base."
Someone once said, "the single most important thing that everybody who is going to be a Marine has to ask himself is - "am I ready to execute my primary mission today?"
From those who know him best, Kramlich seems to ask himself this question and answer it affirmatively each day as he puts on his crisp Marine Corps uniform, prepared to take on the day's challenge. As such, MarCorLog Bases thrived and many will feel the void he and Gail left behind.
Kramlich is slated to take command of 1st Force Service Support Group at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in early June.
"As we leave for Camp Pendleton, it's with mixed feelings," Gail said. "We're both excited about the challenge ahead. We've been stationed at El Toro and Monterey but never at Camp Pendleton so it'll be a new area to explore.
"We leave behind friends and neighbors both on and off the base that's always the difficult part," she concluded.