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Marine base gets new commanding officer

During a ceremony in which command of MCLB-Albany was shifted to Lt. Col. Donald Davis, former commander, Col. Terry V. Williams, center, prepares to receive the unit “colors,” which he would then present to Davis, left.

During a ceremony in which command of MCLB-Albany was shifted to Lt. Col. Donald Davis, former commander, Col. Terry V. Williams, center, prepares to receive the unit “colors,” which he would then present to Davis, left.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Citizens and VIPs were witness to a half hour of impressive military pageantry Friday as the Marine Corp Logistics Base-Albany bade goodbye to Col. Terry V. Williams, base commander for nearly three years, and welcomed new base commander Lt. Col. Donald J. Davis.

Nothing is more formal than a military function steeped in tradition, and as guests sat sheltered from the late May sun, that tradition took the parade ground. Marines assumed their positions on the field or executed specific maneuvers as a narrator explained to visitors the history behind what they were seeing. At specific points during the ceremony, the Marine Corps Band, New Orleans, drilled and performed Sousa marches and patriotic numbers.

At the appropriate moment, following the command "Box The Staff," Williams and Davis took their positions in the reviewing area for the symbolic transfer of the unit colors. Upon direction by the commander of troops, and the order of the sergeant major, the color guard executed the command to carry colors.

According to Marine Corps tradition, the transfer of the unit colors symbolizes the relinquishing of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command by the outgoing commander. The acceptance of the colors by the incoming commander confirms his total commitment to the Marines he now commands.

At the completion of the transfer, the two commanders exchanged salutes, handshakes and ultimately hugs, signaling completion of the main order of business.

Williams was subsequently awarded a presidential citation, which was read aloud during the ceremony. Worded within the citation were praises for "consistently superior leadership, personal integrity and proactive pursuit of efficient and effective base operations." Among Williams' accomplishments mentioned were his success in developing and executing "an aggressive energy and water management program, revitalization of facility infrastructure and maintaining relationships with the surrounding community."

Williams is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and in 2006 graduated the National War College in Washington, D.C. He has served as a logistics defense planning officer for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Williams assumed command of MCLB-Albany on June 26, 2009. According to MCLB media sources, Williams will be reassigned to the Pentagon, with no further specifics currently available concerning his assignment.

Following the ceremony, Davis said that when he learned of his selection as MCLB-Albany commander he was "extremely happy and honored and humbled to be given the opportunity."

"In the end, every command is about people," Davis said. "Colonel Williams turned over such a great ship, and my biggest task will be just staying the course and doing great things like he did. For that reason I'm going to spend some time observing and orienting myself on all the things that MCLB-Albany does within the community.

"I can't think of a better thing to do than serving my country and serving citizens. As Marines we make sacrifices because you guys are sacrificing back here as well."