Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany --
The morning began at Covella Pond with plumes of gray smoke from the cookers rising up to match the hue of the sky over Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., Friday. Maintenance Center Albany celebrated throughout the day with its Fall Extravaganza 2008.
With a picnic, games, speeches, line dancing and an awards ceremony, MCA celebrated with both a look back at their accomplishments throughout the year and a vision of the future.
A committee of 60 volunteers led by four chairpersons, organized the day beginning right after last years’ successful Extravaganza.
Col. Daniel Gillan, commander, MCA, was caught in line at the face painting tent. Gillan said, “I’m going to go for both seasons, desert and jungle camouflage.” He further admitted, “It’s bold.” He also admitted that he hadn’t cleared the new face painting pattern through Headquarters Marine Corps. “We’re going to keep this under wraps,” he confessed.
On a more serious note, Gillan said, “This is our one time of the year to get together and enjoy each other’s company and have fun.”
He added, “We can celebrate all of the successes that we’ve accomplished throughout the year, and this is the one time of the year we get to do that. … For those of us who have hair, it’s a chance to let our hair down.”
Gillan revealed that he was on one of the tug-of-war teams and, also, one of the canoe teams. He would not guarantee that he would win, though.
Gillan said, “We’ve got such a great support infrastructure here at the base that allows us to do what we do and it’s our opportunity to also invite those folks here to tell them ‘thank you’ for how they have supported us through the year.”
Gillan said that the event drew about 1,400 people for the day.
Drew Battin, electroplater, small arms shop, Trades Department, and event staff member who volunteered to help with the T-shirt booth, said, “We are about sold out.” He added, “They went like hotcakes.”
Selling T-shirts, caps and flags helps to pay for the event each year.
Battin said of the event, “It’s fabulous, just fabulous. It’s too bad we couldn’t have something like this every weekend.” When they played the song, “We are Family,” over the loudspeakers, Battin said, “That’s what we’re all about. Everybody gets together and we are all one, big family.”
Donnie Barnard, supervisor, Cost Work Centers 725 and 715, Trades Department, said of the Extravaganza, “I love it. I love it. It gives people time to chat and talk. On normal workdays when you see people, you don’t have a lot of time for conversation except ‘this is what I need, here is where I need it and see you later.’” He added, though, “This is wonderful. It gives people the chance for families to meet.”
Barnard said to the others at MCA, “Keep doing what you’re doing. There’s a blessing here for everybody. You deserve it. You’ve done it and there’s going to be Marines coming home because of it.”
Keith Shaw, manager, Metals Branch, Trades Department, said, “You get to see a lot of the retirees who’ve come back. We get to talk to those people. It’s good for them. It’s good for us and we are all on the same mission, supporting the Marines.”
Shaw said his work holds a special meaning since he has a son, Staff Sgt. Heath Shaw, in the Marine Corps who has been deployed.
Shaw is also a retired Marine as is his father-in-law. “We’re just one, big Marine family.”
Charlie Cole Jr., materiels expediter, Production Management Department, said, “Each year it seems to get better.” Cole, a U.S. Army retiree, added, that he was able to infiltrate the Marine Corps at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany “through the goodness of the Lord.” He admitted, “Sometimes us Army guys have got to stand up” due to the ribbing he takes from former Marines on base. He said, “It’s all fun and games. We have a good time, joking with each other,” adding, “I’m an Army of one, Army strong.”
First Sgt. Shane Henson, first sergeant, Headquarters Company, Marine Corps Logistics Command, summarized the day, “This is just an appreciation event for all of our civilian-Marines who support the warfighter. These are the guys who take in and give back everything my Marines on the ground have, that they need. I mean, the lance corporal, his sustainability and ability to destroy the enemy’s will to live is based upon everybody who is here at this picnic.