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MCLB-Albany pride of the community

A great source of pride for the Albany-Dougherty community -- and the nation, for that matter -- is celebrating a special day today.

Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

President Truman was in his final year in the White House when MCLB-Albany had its beginnings here. Eleven presidential administrations later, this base remains a critical part of the nation's 911 force -- the U.S. Marine Corps -- and is a leading innovator in improving efficiency and finding ways to be less dependent on fossil fuels.

Marine Depot Maintenance Command, a new command that combines the former separate maintenance centers at Albany and Barstow, ensures that Marines have needed, properly functioning equipment to complete their missions. Both the Albany and Barstow centers have done their jobs well over the decades, but the change is designed to make the system work even more efficiently. The consolidation will allow the Corps to cut its overhead costs by 9-13 percent over the next few years while still making certain that U.S. Marines remain an expeditionary fighting force that is always ready.

This year, MCLB-Albany will move forward with $30 million in projects, with most focused on upgrading and repairing facilities that play an integral role in providing the equipment Marine warfighters need to keep America secure. Last year, MCLB-Albany completed Keefe Hall, a new "green" barracks, and a landfill gas facility that allows the base to take byproduct gas from the decomposition of materials buried at the Dougherty County Landfill and turn that gas into energy to help power the base's work. This year, base officials are planning to bring in a burner for chip wood from trees and vegetation that have to be cleared out on base property. That process will yield a substance that acts as an additive for diesel fuel, further moving MCLB-Albany toward energy efficiency. The base is already using climate systems that utilize pipes below the surface to heat and cool some structures, and plans are for that type of system to be utilized for the headquarters of Marine Corps Logistics Command.

The 20-year landfill gas project between the base and Dougherty County has been so successful that the Defense Department has approved the installation of a second generator -- at a price tag of about $3 million -- at the landfill gas plant. That project alone is a prime example of the symbiosis that has developed between the base and the community, a solution that addresses two needs in a mutually beneficial manner.

It's teamwork at its finest.

The logistics base that started out six decades ago as the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies grew into an organization that carries on an essential national defense role while simultaneously developing into a vital member of the local and regional communities. In addition to helping keep Americans safe and secure, its existence has had a great impact on the economy, providing jobs both on and off the base that Southwest Georgia needs. And its done so while being a good neighbor.

When Brig. Gen. R.P. Coffman assumed command of that new supply depot six decades ago, it's doubtful that anyone could have predicted what MCLB-Albany would be today. But with strong leadership throughout the years, the base has fulfilled its critical mission and is positioned to continue that role far into the future. It is a point of pride not only for the community, but for the Corps and for the nation.