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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps gauges Marines mind-sets

By Marti Gatlin | | May 10, 2012

To gauge how his Marines here are doing, the 17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps visited Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, May 3.

Sgt. Maj. Micheal P. Barrett conducted a town hall meeting with all the base and tenant commands’ Marines as well as ate breakfast and lunch with selected noncommissioned officers and staff noncommissioned officers from those units. He also toured various organizations here to include Production Plant Albany and met with MCLB Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command officials.

Barrett assumed his current post, June 9, 2011.

“We are doing great as an institution,” Barrett said to the Marines during the town hall. “We are doing great things. We are winning everywhere we go. I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of you. Thank you for your selflessness. Thank you for all your sacrifices. Thank you for your endurance. Thank you for everything you do for us. We can’t do it without you.

“I am proud that I get to wear the same uniform as you and it is a privilege,” he added. “I get to serve you and there is no greater service than to serve Marines who only want to serve their Marines.”

During the town hall, Barrett talked about the state of the Marine Corps to include its combat missions and successes, deployments, humanitarian assistance, logistics support, macroeconomics, retention, promotions, ascensions (bringing new Marines into the Corps), leadership, character and conduct.

He praised the support logistics Marines here are providing Corps-wide especially with all the equipment coming back to Albany and Barstow, Calif., from Afghanistan and noted the Marines have a “critical and vital mission.”

Barrett said the purpose of his visit was to educate and mentor the Marines.

“I wanted to see the Marines, to embrace the Marines, to get a pulse, to get a feel for how they are doing, what is on their minds, to remind them of who we are (as a Marine Corps), how we were forged, what we provide this nation, what we have given this nation and what we owe this nation,” he said. “It was important for me to come and hear that directly from them and to spend time with our Marines.”

He hoped the Marines learned one important thing from him.

“The single takeaway I want them to all have is to understand the importance of who they are, what they represent and what they give,” Barrett said. “I want them to know just how much the commandant (General James Amos) and I appreciate and value their selflessness, their sacrifices and everything they are doing for us during these tough times, these challenges we have before us.”

He characterized the Marines, who are serving around the globe, as committed, competent and consistently dependable.

“We are of the right character and we are good for this nation,” he said. “This is exactly what I have been receiving as I have gone around the Marine Corps in the last 11 months since I have been the sergeant major of the Marine Corps.”

Among the group of corporals and sergeants who ate breakfast with Barrett, Sgt. JoAnna Sudduth, legal assistance noncommissioned-officer-in-charge, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, MCLB Albany, described it as awesome.

“He briefed us on a lot of things that we had questions on ... so it was very informative,” she said. “It was great for me because they say the Marine Corps is so small, but it’s a true testament that we are family. The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps came and had breakfast with me. I think that just shows how close-knit we really are in the Marine Corps.”

Fellow Marine, Sgt. Robert Mann, training chief, Headquarters Company East, MCLC, depicted May 3’s morning meal at the Tun Tavern II Staff Noncommissioned Officers’ Lounge as incredible.

“He comes down and sits with us as he would with family (and) friends,” Mann said. “We had a time where we could ask him personal questions and we could really understand the sergeant major as a man and as a Marine, not just as a leader. It was a privilege and an honor to be able to come and sit down with the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, have breakfast and talk Marine to Marine.”

Meritoriously promoted to her current rank in March, Cpl. Nicole Dickinson, ammunition technician, Logistics Support Division, MCLB Albany, portrayed the breakfast as exciting. “It was by far the best experience I have had in the Marine Corps,” Dickinson said. “He’s been in for 30-something years. He’s done countless things and he’s accomplished so much. He started out just like us in the infantry field. That’s really the only difference and he worked at everything to get where he is now. He inspired me to want to work harder.”