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MCLB Albany Marines set precedent, win numerous MCIEAST boards

By Marti Gatlin | | December 12, 2013

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Winning the coveted meritorious sergeant and corporal boards, noncommissioned officer of the quarter boards and Marine of the quarter boards is nothing new and something numerous Marines have aspired to accomplish during the Corps’ illustrious history.

However, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Marines have taken these achievements to new heights and may have set new records for the base, which falls under Marine Corps Installations East, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

MCIEAST and MCLB Albany officials have taken notice of this feat.

Brig. Gen. Robert F. Castellvi, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations East/commander, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., took time to compliment the base Marines for winning these boards during his visit here, Nov. 19.

“Should we just move the boards down here?” he asked. “Is there a board you guys have not taken? You guys are the face of this installation. When the commandant (of the Marine Corps) talks about the strength of our noncommissioned officers and the responsibilities we put on the noncommissioned officer, I’m looking at it right here, and I’m liking what I’m seeing.”

Sgt. Maj. Conrad Potts, sergeant major, MCLB Albany, commended the Marines who have won these boards.

“I couldn’t be more proud of all these Marines,” he said. “I’m just humbled and honored to be a person who sits and represents them as their sergeant major because literally I have done nothing to get them where they are. They have done it themselves and I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

During this year, Sgt. Steven McGahee, a postal clerk with MCLB Albany’s Post Office, earned the honors of MCIEAST NCO of the Year. McGahee first won NCO of the 4th Quarter for MCLB Albany, then NCO of the 4th Quarter for MCIEAST followed by MCIEAST NCO of the Year and meritorious sergeant. He will compete in the future at the Marine Corps Installations Command, Washington, D.C., level, according to Walters.

McGahee described the journey toward his success as like riding a roller coaster or tidal wave.

“It was overwhelming just because it was in a short period of time,” he said. “I kept riding the wave of success and (kept) being a good noncommissioned officer.”
McGahee paid tribute to his fellow Marines’ accomplishments.

“It shows the quality of our senior leadership here at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany,” he said. “I thank my fellow noncommissioned officers (who) kept pushing me. It’s all a competition, but it’s good to have them by my side. (I thank the staff noncommissioned officers) for their confidence in me to lead Marines and to put me in this position to lead the Marine Corps into the future.”

Two other MCLB Albany sergeants - Aspen Thompson, distance professional military education NCO and the base color sergeant for the MCLB Albany color guard, won MCLB Albany’s and MCIEAST’s fourth quarter meritorious sergeant boards in 2012 and Stephanie Bowens, a postal clerk, won MCLB Albany’s and MCIEAST’s second quarter sergeant boards in 2013. Bowens is the NCO of the Year for MCLB Albany.

“I was really excited (I won) because I thought I was amongst a good group of Marine Corps Installations East competitors - the best of Marine Corps Installations East - and to stand out was exciting,” Bowens said.

She praised the efforts of her fellow Marines because “I think it just shows the hard work and commitment that our Marines have out here to excel and be the best. I have helped junior Marines who have come to me asking for the tools I used to prepare.

“I think the Marines are given opportunities to go on boards, which gives them a chance to mature and step into leadership roles because it’s from those experiences that they use to mold themselves and help mold others,” Bowens added.

Sgt. Marcus Keyes, warehouseman, Logistics Support Division, achieved MCLB Albany’s and MCIEAST’s first quarter meritorious sergeant honors in 2012. Keyes was promoted to sergeant due to time in grade instead of meritoriously, according to Potts.

Sgt. Deryl Stockton, assistant operations training chief, Base Operations, MCLB Albany, won NCO of the First Quarter for 2013 and Cpl. Josue Balbuena, postal clerk, took NCO of the Third Quarter honors for 2013.

MCLB Albany’s enlisted Marines also shined in their accomplishments, which earned some of them corporal promotions.

Potts applauded the staff noncommissioned officers who helped their Marines win the accolades.

“They have set a precedence because we have won every Marine of the Quarter board this year through Marine Corps Installations East,” Potts said. “We have won six meritorious sergeant boards in a row and seven out of the last eight (meritorious sergeant boards). That’s very unusual that one unit would win that many boards in a row at any level especially with all the numbers of Marines and competing units that are participating in the boards.

“I would like to say what an awesome job the staff noncommissioned officers have done, especially Staff Sergeant (Daniel) Walters, (company gunnery sergeant, Headquarters and Support Company/postal chief, MCLB Albany), in preparing these Marines over the last year and a half because his mentorship and leadership have propelled the Marines to excel,” he added. “He’s making sure that in all facets of leadership and the total Marine concept they are prepared well before they walk into the board.”

According to Walters, MCLB Albany has won all four MCIEAST Marine of the Quarter boards this year.

The four Marine of the Quarters winners for MCLB Albany and MCIEAST are first quarter: Cpl. Lucas Thomas, legal assistance clerk; second quarter: Cpl. Franklin Good IV, administrative specialist; third quarter: Lance Cpl. Gregory Perez, administrative specialist; and fourth quarter: Cpl. Jacob Jones, distribution management clerk.

Good also attained MCIEAST Marine of the year. He will compete in the future at the Marine Corps Installations Command, Washington, D.C., level, Walters noted.

“I hope this continues,” Walters said. “I hope    the Marines who won these boards continue to win (and) teach, coach and mentor other junior Marines in this command. That way Albany can continue to dominate at the Marine Corps Installations East level.”
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