August 21, 2014 --
A Marine Corps career, which began at 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, 20 years ago, ended here Friday, in a ceremony held in his honor, at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The milestone, which marked the retirement of MCLB Albany’s executive officer, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Bates, was witnessed by base community and well-wishers, who gathered at the chapel to bid farewell and to celebrate his years of service.
Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, characterized the XO’s service to the command team, to the Corps and described their relationship during the years they have worked together.
“The XO was here when I got here,” Davis said. “He and the entire team welcomed me with opened arms; took care of me and my family and Dan helped me to understand what it means to be a base commander. I was under his tutelage, growing, learning and sharing life experiences.”
Davis discussed the importance of the retirement ceremony, which celebrated Bates’ service and the sacrifice he has made for his country.
“Dan came into the Marine Corps quietly and I think he wants to leave quietly; but, (the ceremony) is our small way of saying thank you to him, to give him a memory – a small appreciation for 20 years of service to country and Corps – for the sacrifices he’s made over the years,” the base commander shared. “It represents just a small token of our appreciation to him and for his family’s sacrifice as well.”
Speaking about Bates’ demeanor, Davis added, “It has been such a pleasure to have Dan here. He is so even-keeled, with a reserved perspective; he is able to
take things, which at times can become very emotional, and maintain his professionalism and dignity throughout the process. He has been a blessing to me and my team and an asset to the command. We’re going to miss him.”
The retiree shared his experiences while stationed at other installations and compared them to the time he has spent at MCLB Albany – the place he called his “home away from home.”
“I got here three years ago,” Bates recalled. “I wanted to come here because I had heard good things about (the base); plus, it was close to home and I knew that I wanted to retire here. I can’t think of a better place to spend my last few years in the Marine Corps.
“I have been at all kinds of stations and posts around the Marine Corps – inside the United States and outside – and there’s just not a place like this anywhere else,” he said. “It’s more like a family here.”
Bates summarized his opinion of his MCLB Albany “family,” his mission and his gratitude for the opportunity to serve his country.
“It’s been a good place to be,” Bates said. “Apart from the fact that it really is like a family, I was on a different type of mission – one that I wasn’t familiar with. I had no experience with the installation side and it’s just impressive with the professionalism of the folks and what they do every day to make things run and to support (Marine Corps Logistics Command and our other tenants) and to support the greater Marine Corps.
“There are some really talented folks here – good folks to work for and good folks to work with and that’s why I say, they set the bar high. It would be hard to top this anywhere,” Bates said. “I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to serve my nation, which has given me far more than I could ever repay.”
Bates’ wife, his two-year-old son, as well as his parents, attended the retirement celebration. Bates has two other children.
The XO was presented several awards, letters and commendations during the ceremony, including a certificate of retirement from Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, a certificate of appreciation from President Barack H. Obama and an American flag, which flew over Coffman Hall, Building 3500, in his honor, Aug. 14.
He also received additional awards and gifts during a reception, which was held in celebration of his years of service, at the Base Officer’s Club/Conference Center following the retirement ceremony.
Bates, who was born and raised in Florence, Alabama, graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/Neuroscience and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1994 through the Officer Candidate Course Program.