MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- The Marine Corps Supply Activity was located in Philadelphia from 1908 until it began moving to Albany during mid-to-late 1975. The activity deactivated July 1, 1976.
The origins of the MCSA can be traced back to 1798 and a canvas tent that served as a Marine Corps supply depot.
In 1804, the depot was assigned a function that was to become one of its main tasks for the next 158 years. The Secretary of the Navy designated the depot an 'establishment in barracks for the making and mending clothes' for Marines.
Clothing manufacturing was carried out in barracks at the Philadelphia Naval Base and in a four-story building in Center City. Much of the work was contracted out to local tailors, but material was also cut at the depot and distributed to local housewives who made it into uniforms in their own homes.
Construction of the main MCSA building at the Broad Street and Washington Avenue site began in 1904 and was completed in 1908.
Nine years after completion, the activity was confronted with the demands of World War I. Between 1917 and 1918 it outfitted and equipped 36 expeditionary units, including four regiments of 4,000 men each. Activity personnel totaled 14 officers, 100 enlisted, 420 civilian men and 593 civilian women, according to historical data.
During World War II, more than 6,000 employees worked around the clock making uniforms, tentage and such lumber and metal products as tent poles, lockers and bunks.
The MCSA stored and issued general property from warehouses throughout the area. For its efforts, the MCSA was awarded five awards of the Army-Navy 'E' pennant for production efficiency, the first presented in 1943.
Since World War II, the activity has supported U.S. forces in Korea, Lebanon, the Dominican Republic and Vietnam.
During the early 1960s, rumors began to flow surrounding the possibility of the MCSA deactivating and moving to Albany, Ga. Many employees began their search for jobs in the local Philadelphia area to avoid moving their families. Others ignored the rumors and conducted 'business as usual.'
In 1962, the historic clothing manufacturing function of the activity was transferred to the Defense Personnel Support Center, a Department of Defense agency organized to procure uniforms for all military services.
From 1962 to 1967, the MCSA served as an Inventory Control Point for certain secondary items and repair parts. In addition, the command had technical data management responsibility for all items used by the Marine Corps, irrespective of source, and the mission of provisioning all new major items of Marine Corps equipment.
On May 1, 1967, the MCSA implemented the Marine Corps Unified Materiel Management System, which became the single Inventory Control Point for managing the supply (Stores) system of the Marine Corps.
In designing and developing MUMMS, the activity implemented Department of Defense procedures set forth under the Military Standard Requisition and Issue Procedures and the Military Standard Transaction Reporting and Accounting Procedures.
During late 1975, the rumors of deactivation became reality. The order came for the MCAS to shut down, and personnel who chose to transfer began moving to Albany, some as early as October, according to sources who moved with the activity.
Unofficially, 181 employees transferred from Philadelphia here to the Marine Corps Supply Center Albany.
As the Philadelphians filtered down, Albany prepared to receive new employees. The Civilian Personnel Office here received the list of requirements for filling jobs associated with the functional transfer of the Inventory Control Point and began their personnel actions. The requirements were broken down into four priority categories.
Priority one contained positions that had to be filled at Philadelphia for them to continue to perform their mission. These positions were primarily pure ICP positions that had no Albany counterpart. (Any position that was not a pure ICP-type job required prior clearance with CPO before it could be filled on a permanent basis).
Priority two was positions (most ICP-type jobs) that would be filled very shortly at Albany. Persons selected for these jobs would remain in Albany, but may have been required to go to Philadelphia whenever necessary.
Trips to Philadelphia might have been for a few days, or could last up to several weeks, depending on the needs of the ICP.
The third priority contained positions (both ICP-type jobs and non-ICP-type jobs) to be filled at Albany over the upcoming few months. These positions were not as critical as those contained in priority two. Travel to Philadelphia for short periods of time was also a possibility.
The fourth priority contained positions that would be studied further before any decisions would be made about whether or not they were really needed by the new organization. The Albany CPO was responsible for the majority of the placement actions for both activities.
Amidst all this, construction was being done on Bldg. 3700, at Marine Corps Supply Center Albany. Bldg. 3700 was built primarily to house employees moving here from Philadelphia.
When the Philadelphians began to arrive, Bldg. 3700 had not been completed. According to Fred Howard, Philadelphia native who made the move and current deputy director at the Life Cycle Management Center, employees were placed at the old Naval Air Station that was near Albany's Miller Brewing Company until construction was complete.
As missions and roles of the base changed, so did the name.
The U.S. Marine Corps Supply Activity Philadelphia officially deactivated July 1, 1976.
On Nov. 1, 1978, the Marine Corps Supply Center changed its name to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. With this, the full spectrum of logistics support functions required to sustain the life cycle of the Marine Corps weapons systems and equipment was performed here.
Fourteen short months later, on Jan. 17, 1990, the Commandant of the Marine Corps designated the commanding general at MCLB Albany to be the commander of the Marine Corps Logistics Bases also. The reorganization placed control of MCLB Barstow, Calif., the Blount Island Command at Jacksonville, Fla., and MCLB Albany under a single commander.
Today, Building 3700 boasts quite a bit of history. Along with its humble beginnings and robust evolution, it has become the Headquarters for Marine Corps Logistics Bases. Brig. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich, a native of Whitehall, Pa., is the present-day commander at Marine Corps Logistics Bases.