February 28, 2014 --
A Marine Corps Logistics Command civil servant retired from a 37-year information technology specialist career at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
A crowd of more than 150 gathered at the flag pole in front of Building 3700, Feb. 20, to pay tribute to the faithful service of the man they remembered by his signature phrase, “First name Bennie, last name Paige.”
Building 3700 — the building, which Paige called his “second home for 37 years” was the backdrop for his retirement ceremony.
“Bennie has been doing analyst support work for the Marine Corps for 37 years,” Hal Gobin, director, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers Department, LOGCOM, said.
“(He) is just a good man, and a good person,” Gobin continued. “I think the crowd today is just a testament of how he has impacted not only C-4 and LOGCOM but also the Marines in the field. The systems he has worked on and supported (have) made an impact on everyone in the field over the last several decades.”
Gobin, a retired Marine, thanked Paige for what he’s done to keep warfighters safe.
Michelle Polk, deputy director, C4, tipped her hat to the honoree, who is well-known for wearing an array of sporty covers.
“Being cool is never a word associated with the people in IT,” Polk said, as the crowd erupted into laughter. “But, our honoree is the coolest IT specialist that I know. In your honor, I tip my hat to you.”
In describing her working relationship with Paige, Polk reflected on her interactions over the years when he worked as one of her project managers.
“When we stood up the project support branch, he was one of my project managers,” Polk recalled. “So that’s why, when he talked about the projects having a start and an end date, about having processes, that is the foundation of what we learned when we were trying to manage projects.”
Polk concluded, “While he was there, he was very diligent in what he did for us in regard to a project manager. He has great work ethics.”
Others echoed some of the same sentiments regarding Paige’s contributions to his department, to the warfighters and service to his country.
“Okay, I’m going to go and take the plunge and say ... 37 years ago, I was somewhere around the mature age of nine years old,” Lt. Col. George Lampkin, operations officer, C4, and retiring official for the ceremony, said.
The crowd burst into laughter as Lampkin continued his parallel of Paige’s 37-year work history to memorable events during his career.
“Thirty-seven years ago, everybody was practicing their John Travolta moves from ‘Saturday Night Fever,’” Lampkin recalled.
He continued, “But also something else happened 37 years ago. Thirty-seven years ago, the first group of 13 Cooperative Education students came to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. The man we’re celebrating today, was among the first 13. And, as he so eloquently told me, he is the last of that 13 to be here on the base at this point and time.”
In describing Paige’s contributions to the warfighter, Lampkin concluded, “He’s about always striving to make what we do better (not only) for the sake of supporting the mission here at LOGCOM but also for the purpose of supporting those Marines (who) are out there in harm’s way.”
When Paige took his place at the podium, he began by thanking some of his first supervisors, whom he attributed to “taking him under their wings,” and impacting his early career during his time as a co-op student in 1977, as well as when he was permanently hired aboard the installation, after graduation from Albany State University.
Paige thanked his wife, parents and other family members for the sacrifices they each made during his federal service transition and growth through the years. He thanked his sister for “the roadmap she painted,” which has guided much of his educational and career choices over the last four decades.
Paige’s retirement awards included certificates of appreciation, letters and an American flag, which was flown over LOGCOM in honor of his 37 years of service.
The ceremony culminated with the attendees singing happy birthday to Paige, whose retirement day just happened to coincide with that milestone as well.