The news MCLB-Albany Commanding Officer Col. Donald Davis has been at his post since May 25. His leadership philosophy is to have “mission first, people always.”
MCLB-ALBANY, Ga. — Since most of the operations within Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany appear to be at their peak, the installation’s new commander says he wants to focus more on a community presence.
Col. Donald Davis, 44, who has been on the job for two months now, runs the show with a “mission first, people always” leadership philosophy.
Davis, a native of Dover, N.J., and the son of an Army veteran, looked for an opportunity to engage in public service when the chance presented itself to join the Marine Corps.
“I applied for a scholarship to the Marine Corps, and suddenly I had an opportunity,” he said. “I saw what Marines did, and I had a love for people.
“The military, particularly the Marine Corps, fits with my core value as a person.”
As part of his leadership style, he also incorporates what is called as “The Philosophy of 5-4-3-2-1,” which he picked up from mentor Maj. Gen. T.S. Jones. It contains a particular number of words in each section.
The first five words are “All Men are Created Equal,” followed by four, “In the Beginning God,” three, “I Love You,” two, “Commitment; Courage” and, finally, “Humility.”
As a part of this philosophy, Davis describes humility as the most important principle Marines should practice.
“We joined the Marines as ‘The Few, The Proud,’ but how much better would it be if we were ‘The Few, The Humble’?” the colonel said. “We came here to serve, not to be served.”
Before taking his current position, he was the operations director for Marine Corps Logistics Command (LOGCOM) — which is based aboard the installation — and deployed to Afghanistan as the commanding officer for Marine Corps Logistics Command Forward.
Something that has stuck with him since coming into Albany a year ago is the actions of the people here, particularly the hospitality both he and his family received during his deployment — which didn’t stop at the care packages he received while overseas.
“The community welcomed me and took care of my family while I was gone,” he said.
In Davis’ opinion, a lot of the major operations on the base are at — or at least near — their best, which presents an opportunity to improve on connections outside of the base.
“There are so many gifts inside the fenceline. We don’t have crime (or other issues) inside the fenceline, but we have a lot of educated people to open up to the community,” he said. “You can’t tell me that won’t make a difference.
“We need to let that light shine and not just be an economic provider. I see so much opportunity in the area.”
One aspect of being commander of MCLB-Albany is more interaction with people, something Davis has appreciated so far.
“I was just a member of the community before. Now I’m in a position to make a difference,” he said. “I was called (N.J to be here for a reason. I will be here for three years and I want to try to leave (the base) in a better condition then how I found it.”
In addition to the talent on base, Davis said he has seen some good things from the people outside of the installation as well.
Since he became commanding officer, perhaps the best example of this came from the outpouring of support for the family of Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton.
Sutton, a Marine from Leesburg, was killed over the Memorial Day weekend while in the line of duty in Afghanistan. He was laid to rest in Albany.
“The Phillip Phillips thing was put on the sidelines,” he recalled of the funeral proceedings. “It brought us down to earth, and the way the community came together was really good.”
INVEST IN THE JOURNEY
The colonel said he is open to touching base with those who have thoughts as to how MCLB-Albany can capitalize on fellowship opportunities in the area.
The way he sees it, that is his way of giving back.
“I don’t have to go far outside the gates (of MCLB) to find someone in need of help,” Davis said. “(I want to help people) search for the American Dream. I got the chance to live mine.”
Despite being from the northern part of the country originally, Davis says he can see himself retiring in the South. If he were to retire in this area, the decision to do so would be based on more than just the hospitality.
“Here, people invest in the journey. They are not in such a hurry to get to the destination,” he said. “That’s not a bad thing.
“The ills Albany is facing are the same ills you see everywhere else. The people here are amazing. A lot of folks (here) don’t have a lot, but they are grateful for what they have.”
Davis is married with four children — two daughters and two sons. His two daughters are either in college or going into college, and his sons are ages 11 and nine.
He graduated from Dover (N.J.) High School in 1986 and subsequently attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in management and was commissioned a second lieutenant in May 1990.
Davis is also a graduate of the Advanced Logistics Officers Course and the Marine Corps Logistics Education Program at Pennsylvania State University. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Webster University, graduating with high honors in March 1996.
He was promoted to his current rank on June 6, about two weeks after assuming command of MCLB from Col. Terry Williams on May 25.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two stars, Navy Commendation Medal (gold star in lieu of second award), Navy Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation with one star, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Medal with one star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with seven stars, United Nations Medal, NATO Medal International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.