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Marine Barracks Washington honors MCLB Albany, community leaders, congressman during parade

By Regina Hegwood | | July 12, 2001

The U.S. Marine Band, Drum and Bugle Corps, Silent Drill Platoon, Color Guard and close-order drill unit of Marine Barracks, 8th and I streets in Washington, honored MCLB Albany, Albany and Dougherty County leaders and Georgia Congressman Sanford Bishop during the units' Friday evening parade at Marine Barracks, Washington.

Some 140 Albany-Dougherty County Chamber of Commerce members traveled to Washington to participate in the event. Lt. Gen. Gary S. McKissock, deputy commander of Installations and Logistics at HQMC, hosted the parade and the pre-parade reception on behalf of the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James L. Jones.

Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), who was also honored during the parade, and his wife Vivian were among the area's VIPs who attended the evening's festivities.

Ken Trammell, executive director of the Materiel Command, and BGen. Richard S. Kramlich, commander of Marine Corps Logistics Bases, represented the three commands located here.

Local leaders and VIPs, base representatives and HQMC officials also attended the pre-parade reception, which was held at Henderson Hall.

Several Marine officers who served at MCLB Albany in the past and officers of the Marine units that performed during the parade attended the reception as well.

During his remarks at the reception, McKissock acknowledged the exceptionally close relationship between the Marines assigned duty here and the local community.

A group of Albanians presented McKissock with a photograph of Stubby, a bobcat who reportedly robbed the general of his 'kill' during a local quail hunt held when he served as the commander of the Marine Corps Materiel Command here.

The hour-long parade performance paid tribute to the base and its related tenant activities and the Marines and civilian employees responsible for the achievements of the tri-command installation.

The parade also recognized the Marine Corps' 'Friends of Southwest Georgia' for their unprecedented support of the collective commands and the individuals who work here.

Kramlich expressed the feelings of all base personnel when he remarked on the event.

"Sharing the experience of a glorious evening parade at the Marine Barracks in Washington was a fitting way to show our admiration to the civilian leadership of Albany and Dougherty County," Kramlich said.

"I'm glad we had such a good turnout from our friends in the community.

"General McKissock's hospitality was the frosting on the cake, since the Marines' performance, by the musical units and the Silent Drill Platoon, was the real showstopper," Kramlich continued.

"I was honored to represent the commands from MCLB Albany on this special occasion. No matter how many times I see the evening parade, it still gives me the same sense of pride in the Corps that I felt as a lieutenant."

Local citizens reported the event was an unequaled honor for the community.

Tommy Coleman, Albany mayor: "I've had a little experience with a marching band, and I know how difficult it is. So, I guess the absolute perfection of their performance was the most incredible to me. I mean, they never missed a single step or note -- and everything was precisely choreographed and executed without a hitch! The entire evening inspired renewed patriotism in us all."

Lamar Reese, Dougherty County Commission:  "I was in the Navy, and I've wanted to see that parade since then. Also, my son served on the Cobb County Military Affairs Committee a few years ago when Dobbins Air Force Base up there arranged for them to see that parade, and my son's enthusiasm made me want to see it even more.

"So, this was something I've wanted to do for many, many years Ð and it more than met all my expectations! It was worth everything to go -- I'd do it again in a heartbeat, even the part about turning around and flying right back home!

Tim Martin, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce: "The presentation at the Marine Barracks in Washington was awe-inspiring. It made me proud to be an American and privileged to have the opportunity to support the Marines.

"The order, precision and discipline the musical units and the parade troops demonstrated were truly magnificent. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life."

Debbie Blanchard: "Awesome! One of the best events I have ever experienced."

Jeff Sinyard, executive chairman of the Albany Economic Development Commission: "It clearly reminded us of why it's a great privilege to be an American."

Pat O'Lear, past chairman of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee: "I've seen a lot of parades, but I've never seen anything to compare with the performance by the Marines at the Marine Barracks in Washington.

"I'm something of a sentimentalist when it comes to our country anyway, and my heart filled with a double portion of patriotism and pride in these young Marines we have here. It was just terrific, and General McKissock and his wife were the gracious host and hostess they always are, welcoming all of us as personal friends."

Kay Read, editor of The Albany Herald: "Albany is most appreciative to General McKissock for honoring the community in such an extraordinary way. To see that parade was exciting in itself, but to have it dedicated to Albany and the base was a great honor. I understand it was the first time a Marine Corps installation or a community was honored at the Marine Barracks Washington evening parade.

"I think this fact alone reflects General McKissock's warm feelings toward the community."

Dee Matthews: "Oh, I know I sound corny, but honestly, that parade made me so proud to be an American. I wish every student in the nation could visit Washington to learn about the history represented there and to witness an evening parade at Marine Barracks, 8th and I streets. It was something I'll never forget as long as I live!"

Leland Burkhart, chairman of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee: "It renewed my sense of patriotism, and reinforced my commitment to Marines in our community."

Gil Barrett, retired Dougherty County Commission chairman: "In my 78 years, I've been given the opportunity to attend many patriotic or patriotism-inspiring events, but I've never been so profoundly affected as I was by that parade.

"It was simply wonderful, and I would encourage anybody to make time to see that parade when they are in Washington."