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Base sergeant major ends 32-year career ‘feeling good’

By Joycelyn Biggs | | May 29, 2014


After 32 years of service in the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Conrad E. Potts, outgoing sergeant major, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, was retired during a ceremony held at Schmid Field, Friday.

Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, described Potts as a true leader.  He quoted Theodore Roosevelt saying, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man, who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.

“Sgt. Maj. Potts has served with distinction and character for 32 years,” Davis continued. “He has the marks of a man, who never strayed from the arena and who lived a life true to his God, country and Corps.”

Potts told the crowd he has thought about what he wanted to say when he got to this point.

“The only thing I could think of at this time is,” Potts paused then bellowed, “I feel good,” as he loudly hummed the tune of the James Brown hit and swayed his hips from side to side.

The crowd burst into laughter as Potts explained he should calm down as he is getting old and he didn’t want to throw out his back.

Potts thanked his three families, the one he was born into, the one he was sworn into and the one he was married into. He poured accolades on each family.

While mentioning his biological family, Potts became emotional as he spoke of family members who had passed away.

While speaking of his military family, he rattled off a litany of names of people, who impacted his career as well as his personal life in a positive manner.

Finally, when he spoke of the family he married into, he beamed as he described his wife as “my Sendy.”

Potts voice mimicked the movie “Forrest Gump” as he explained, “We like peas and carrots, Sendy and me.”

Never losing his “Forrest Gump” tone, Potts described his wife as a wonderful woman who always did for others. 

“I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is, and I’m glad I got your love Ms. Sendy,” Potts concluded.

Sendy Potts, programmer management analyst, MCLB Albany, said it was his extreme compassion for people and his love of God that evoked her interest in him and led to their recent marriage.

“Those were important characteristics to me in finding a mate,” she said. She recalled being in his office one day and there being a report about a tornado somewhere.

“It struck me how compassionate Conrad was for the people affected by that event, she said. “He is sincerely and completely concerned with his Marines and just everybody.”  

Sendy said she knew he was a man of faith because he attended the same church she did and was often seen in service.

“He is everything I prayed for and so much more, he is my Mr. Wonderful,” she said.

Sendy could not contain a smile that covered her face as she went on to say, “I cannot say enough about how good he is to me.” 

Potts’ career began in 1982 when he attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. After completion of boot camp, he traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he served as a driver, loader and gunner on the M60A1 tank. 

In 1985, Potts served as a tank commander and was deployed to both Honduras and Fort Picket, Virginia. In January 1989, Potts was ordered to report to Drill Instructor School at Parris Island, South Carolina. There he served as both a drill instructor and a senior drill instructor.

In February 1992, Potts attended noncommissioned officer school and graduated with honors. By 1996, Potts was selected as the instructor of the year, was selected as the Gung Ho Award recipient by his peers and graduated from the staff noncommissioned officers advanced career course with honors.

In 2010, Potts arrived in Albany, Georgia, to serve as the sergeant major of Marine Depot Maintenance Command for both Albany, Georgia, and Barstow, California, in addition to Headquarters Group East/West.

His final assignment was in October 2011 to serve as the base sergeant major for MCLB Albany.