New era starts at Maintenance Center Albany

Col. Stephen Medeiros, commander of Maintenance Center Albany, has been in Albany since June.

Col. Stephen Medeiros, commander of Maintenance Center Albany, has been in Albany since June.

MCLB-ALBANY — Col. Stephen Medeiros has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.

Thanks to an ongoing consolidation of two U.S. Marine Corps maintenance centers, he is currently the commander of Marine Depot Maintenance Command — with production plants in Barstow, Calif., as well as Albany.

“We have begun the implementation process (on consolidation),” Medeiros said. “We are standardizing processes, procedures and techniques to make sure efficiencies (are taken advantage of).

“Ideally, this will be a five-year process.”

He has been in Albany since June, having taken over for former Maintenance Center Albany Commander Col. Terry Reid.

Born on Nov. 10, a career in the Marine Corps made sense for him.

“I don’t know if I had much of a choice, with my birthday also being the Marine Corps’ birthday,” he said.

He graduated from high school at 17, and was commissioned in May 1985 — when he was 21 — as a second lieutenant upon graduation from the Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

His background as a history buff and avid reader also turned him toward a career in the Corps — specifically material on the Pacific Campaign.

From that time, he’s never considered another career for himself.

“I’ve been on this path since,” the colonel said. “I’d had the bug awhile.

“I was pretty set in the course I was taking. I knew exactly were I was going.”

It was a choice he made despite the fact his father was in the Air Force and he had an uncle in the Army.

“At the time, (the Marine Corps) was a good representation to me of service to the nation,” Medeiros said. “That was set in my mind as I was going through the process.”

Medeiros, who spent his childhood in Massachusetts, is a native of Providence, R.I. Upon completion of The Basic School in November 1985, he reported to Engineer School in Courthouse Bay at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

After completion of combat engineer officer instruction, Medeiros reported to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion where he served in succession as platoon commander of Company C, executive officer of Company A and then as executive officer of Company C. During that time, he deployed to the Republic of the Philippines and to South Korea.

Returning to the U.S. in October 1988, Medeiros assumed duties as the aide-de-camp to the commanding general of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. In August 1990, Medeiros was assigned as the director of maintenance and repair for Facilities Maintenance and served in this capacity until reporting to Amphibious Warfare School in August 1991.

Upon completion of AWS, Medeiros was reassigned as a platoon commander at Officers’ Candidate School — also in Virginia.

In May 2002, he earned a Master of Social Science from Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Leaving MWSG-37 after ten months, he assumed command of the 9th Engineer Support Battalion in Okinawa and led the battalion until July 2004.

Selected for Top Level School, Medeiros attended the Inter-American Defense College, graduating in June 2006. He was reassigned as the commander of U.S. Southern Command as the Vice J5, and as the director of Enterprise Support-Logistics (J4) in 2008.

In 2007, he was designated a national security management fellow at Syracuse. Reassigned in 2009 to the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, he assumed duties as the G3 Operations Officer.

After that, he took on his current role in Albany.

Throughout his career, Medeiros said that the best part about his time in the Corps has been the people he has worked with — and the worst part has been leaving them.

When it comes time to leave his current assignment in another two years, that’s something he will have to deal with again.

“You start the cycle, mature relationships with people and start the cycle over again,” he said. “It can be a positive cycle.

“(When it comes time to leave Albany) I’ll miss the people. The work force here is fabulous, and they are fabulous in Barstow. They inspire me by what they do.”

When he came here, he said he was surprised by the hospitality of the community, as well as how things work in a command like the one he is in now.

“I was surprised at the amount of effort here and in Barstow it takes to support the warfighter,” Medeiros said. “I probably should have thought of it, but you don’t know until you actually get to sit in the seat.”

As a leader, he describes himself as “tough but fair.”

“I’m not a zero defects kind of leader,” Medeiros said. “I say to folks ‘How can we do better?’”

Medeiros has taken the maintenance center helm as Marine Corps Logistics Command has been preparing to take on the role of drawing down operations in Afghanistan.

“It will mean more emphasis on LOGCOM and both maintenance centers, as well as fixing and maintaining gear,” he said of the drawdown effort. “There will be a slight increase at some point in the work load. How long that will last, I have no idea.

“It took us a couple of years to get out of Iraq.”

While the withdraw and consolidation efforts are taking place, the basic mission of Maintenance Center Albany remain the same.

“We will make sure we sustain and complete current production,” Medeiros said. “It’s a continuos effort.

“In the long term, I hope to turn the command over a little bit better and sustain the effort left by Col. Reid.”

His wife, Sirrah Medeiros, is a native of Rootstown, Ohio. They have two children, son Stephen Joseph, 17, and daughter Elena Margaret, 15.

Instead of traveling the children between Albany and Barstow, a family decision was made to keep the two high-schoolers and their mother based in Virginia.

Being that his children were raised in a military family, the colonel said he thinks the proper adjustments are being made among its other three members to make that arrangement work.

“I sat the kids down and told them that this is a command and that I had to go, and they got a vote this time,” he said. “Before, they didn’t get a vote. We are only separated by distance. It was a difficult choice, and its been awhile since we’ve had to do this.

“My sense is that they are adjusting to it OK.”

Medeiros’ decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.