MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
It’s been a long time coming, but the unmarried Marines aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany were on hand to witness the ribbon cutting for their new barracks. They now have a new place to call home and have started moving in their rooms.
A dedication ceremony was held March 15 at the covered pavilion on the grounds of the new barracks.
The barracks is named Keefe Hall in honor of Gunnery Sgt. Floyd M. Keefe, who was formerly stationed at MCLB Albany. He was a cook at the battalion command post at Phu Lac, Vietnam, when it was attacked by 200 enemy soldiers.
He was killed in 1969. Saturday marked the 42nd anniversary of his death and his family attended the ceremony.
“He would be astonished to see these new barracks and the rooms. This honor means his memory will live on and it will always be a monument to him for as long as it stands,” said Frances Simpson, Keefe’s widow.
Simpson, a native of Albany, met her late husband when a friend brought him over to her house. After only six months they were engaged and married six months later. The former chow hall here was named in his honor, and his children who were in attendance, said they are proud the plaque will be used again and this is a great honor for their entire family. Keefe is survived by Simpson, Donna Lynn Spring-Keefe, his daughter; and Floyd Michael Keefe, his son.
“He was a wonderful man, a wonderful husband and father,” Simpson said. “Unfortunately, he never got to meet his grandchildren.”
Keefe, an Alabama native, joined the Marine Corps in 1953 and served as a cook. On March 19, 1969, he rushed to a defensive position when he observed that six hostile soldiers had penetrated his camp’s perimeter and were headed toward a command bunker and was fatally wounded at age 35.
“We need to remind ourselves that not only is today about dedicating these new barracks to the single Marines who will live here, but it is also about the ultimate sacrifice that Gunnery Sgt. Keefe made for this great nation,” said Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany. “This is a great project that will no doubt increase the quality of life for the single Marines.”
Williams said it is important to remember that men and women like Keefe choose this way of life, knowing full well the dangers, but continue to serve with the same sense of loyalty, high standards, bravery and strength, as those who have gone before them.
Cpl. Shavonda Williams, postal clerk, MCLB Albany, who has lived in the old barracks, is excited about the move. She said the new barracks is something special with the stoves, microwaves, walk-in closets and other amenities.
“It makes me feel appreciated, and to have the extra furniture and amenities here makes me feel like I’ve got a home, especially being so far away from home. I try to eat healthy, but without a chow hall, it is difficult. Now we are able to prepare our own meals in the room, which makes it even better,” she said. “I can’t wait to move in.”
Maj. Gen. James A. Kessler, commanding general, Marine Corps Logistics Command, said Keefe was killed under heroic circumstances.
“He (Keefe) gave his life protecting and taking care of his Marines, and in some small way, this is exactly what we are doing now, taking care of them with the newest and arguably the nicest barracks in the entire Marine Corps,” he said.
Kessler said the new barracks replaces five old ones and will house up to 200 Marines.
“Keefe had 16 years in the Marine Corps at the time of his death and as long as this building stands, it will be known as Keefe Hall,” he said. “For these Marines and countless others for decades to come, this will be home.”