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Marine Corps Logistics Command celebrates 10-year anniversary, dedicates ship’s bell

By Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders | | May 29, 2013

A formal ceremony was held May 21 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Marine Corps Logistics Command. The ceremony also included a dedication of the USS Nassau ship’s bell, which now finds its home at the headquarters of MCLC.
The origins of Marine Corps Logistics Command can be traced back to 1798 in Philadelphia, Pa., when the Marine Corps Supply Activity served as the inventory control point for certain Marine Corps secondary items and repair parts.
The then-Secretary of the Navy designated the depot an “establishment in barracks for the making and mending of clothes” for Marines.
Since that time, the supply depot has served Marines through the Civil War, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and present-day conflicts. In 1952, an installation was established in Albany, Ga., and designated the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies.
After several transformations from 1952 until 2003, Marine Corps Materiel Command merged with the Marine Corps Logistics Bases headquarters to formally establish MCLC, an organization which serves a myriad of the warfighter’s logistics needs, to include offering operational logistics solutions that satisfy tactical logistics requirements.
Maj. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general, MCLC, emphasized the long road paved by those in the past as well as the future of the command while highlighting some of the unit’s many accomplishments and contributions to the Marine Corps.
“Everything we have done for the Marine Corps since 1798, everything we do today, and everything the command will do in the future is for one purpose: to ensure that the young Marine in harm’s way has the best support possible so he can accomplish his mission,” Hudson said.
The USS Nassau’s bell was lent to the command by the Department of the Navy for presentation and proper upkeep. The now-decommissioned Navy vessel was an amphibious assault ship designed to transport warfighters, allow aircraft activity and house weaponry over a period of 32 years.
A ship’s bell serves multiple purposes. The bell is used to indicate the time aboard the vessel and can also be used to regulate the duty watch schedule for the personnel aboard.
A ship’s bell will always remain aboard the vessel unless the ship is decommissioned.
“An interesting fact is that all the children baptized aboard the vessel have their names engraved inside the bell,” Michael T. Madden, executive deputy, MCLC, said. “We have plans to use the bell in future ceremonies in an effort to build a Marine Corps Logistics Command­­ parade deck.”
The vessel was commissioned in 1979 and decommissioned in 2011. While active, it assisted in major combat engagements such as transporting troops and equipment to Lebanon after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut and assisting in the same manner during the first Gulf War.
Additionally, the USS Nassau participated in multiple humanitarian efforts. It deployed to Galveston, Texas, in 2008 to assist with the relief effort after the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike.
Two years later, it supported humanitarian efforts after the earthquake in Haiti.
The USS NASSAU’s homeport was Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va. The ship currently resides in Beaumont, Texas, with the National Reserve Fleet ships.