Marine Corps Logistics Base ALBANY Ga. --
Under a cool breeze with moderate, yet dignified participants of Marines, civilian-Marines, veterans, retirees and former base commanders, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany celebrated its 60th anniversary, March 1, at Schmid Field, here.
The audience watched as several key speakers noted the illustrious history of the base and the impact it has had on the local community, the Marine Corps and the nation. “Sixty years ago, this wooded tract of land, once inhabited by Native Americans, was commissioned as the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies, Albany, Georgia,” Madeleine Tringali, operations and plans specialist, MCLB Albany, said as she narrated the event. Several organizational changes eventually rendered the base what it is known as today, MCLB Albany. Regardless of these changes, the installation has remained in its very spot, garnering attention from the local community as “the Marine base.” The 60th anniversary ceremony celebrated this heritage of change and support for overseas operations. During the ceremony, the narrator drew a parallel between the installation’s most recognizable landmark, Dubber’s Oak, and the support the base provides to tenant organizations, enabling them to support operating forces overseas.
“Just as the strong, far-reaching branches of the huge live oak stretch across the base’s entrance, this facility’s support has branched to every corner of the globe in support of Marines in action from Korea to Kosovo, to actions today in Afghanistan and other areas of the world where Marines continue to be as they’ve always been, the ‘first to fight,’” Tringali said.
Retired Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Bill Hamby, the first key speaker of the event, reflected on his personal experiences regarding how he arrived in Albany and what it was like being one of the first Marines to inhabit the base. “As I look around these grounds, it’s hard to believe this was the place I arrived in 1951,” Hamby said. “The very plot we’re standing on was an unplowed field. This beautiful building (Coffman Hall) behind me had a cane pole with a tag on it that said ‘administration building.’”
On Dec. 5, 1950, Hamby was wounded in North Korea while engaged in combat operations. After his evacuation, he eventually arrived at Quantico, Va. Not pleased with his new duty station, he asked to be reassigned.
“I went up to the detail section in headquarters,” Hamby said. “I told the lieutenant, who was the detail officer, that I wasn’t too happy in Quantico. He said, ‘where do you want to go?’ I told him that I wanted to go back to the First Marine Division in Korea. He asked if I wanted to go to Albany, Georgia. I responded that there wasn’t a Marine facility in Albany, and he said, ‘There will be.’”
Local dignitaries also took the opportunity to express their appreciation of MCLB Albany. Kenneth Cutts, representing Congressman Sanford D. Bishop’s office, recited a Congressional Record, originally given before Congress by Bishop, both reflecting on and applauding the efforts of MCLB Albany in recognition of its anniversary. Jeff Sinyard, chairman, Dougherty County Commission, also provided remarks and a reading of a formal proclamation.
“The Marines landed in Albany, Georgia, on March 1, 1952, and were welcomed by the citizenry of Southwest Georgia,” Sinyard said. “This day in 2012 is the 60th birthday of that occasion and celebrates a period in which the United States Marine Corps and the Georgia county of Dougherty joined in partnership together to further enhance the mission of the facility now known as Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, partnering to improve the quality of life of our community centering on education, health care, training, recreation and economic development.
“Hundreds of Marine Corps retirees and families chose to stay in the Albany community and begin new careers, start new businesses, or just simply take advantage of our mild climate and enjoy a wide range of activities as they continued to interact and fully participate as citizens in the social and governmental fabric of our community. Their contributions are both impressive and lasting,” he added. Following the county commission chairman’s remarks was Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany.
“You have not only supported the war and the wars that came before, you have also provided support for humanitarian operations, not only for humanitarian operations overseas, but also for humanitarian work here,” Williams said. “You provide indirect support. You are enablers. You provided power, water, you provided transportation and you took care of children. You, MCLB Albany, made a difference.”
Mary Deiter, the wife of Karl Deiter, who was the first Marine stationed in Albany, joined Williams and Sgt. Maj. Conrad Potts, sergeant major, MCLB Albany, in cutting the ceremonial cake in honor of the base’s anniversary.
Karl Deiter was a procurement agent who was assigned the duty of purchasing the land on which the original supply depot was built. Mary Deiter began working on the base in 1956 and continued to serve the Marine Corps for more than 20 years.