MCLB-ALBANY — Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany wished “fair winds and following seas” to its retiring sergeant major recently and said hello to a new sergeant major with ties to Southwest Georgia.
Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Agee, former sergeant major for the base, retired from active duty during a ceremony at the installation’s Chapel of the Good Shepherd on Thursday in the presence of family members, dignitaries, Marines, civilian Marines and friends who honored Agee as he ended a nearly 30-year career in the Marine Corps, reports from MCLB-Albany said.
Agee, a native of Lakeland, Fla., had been serving at MCLB-Albany since May 23, 2014. Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer at MCLB-Albany, received the noncommissioned officer’s sword from Agee and handed it to Sgt. Maj. Johnny L. Higdon during a post and relief ceremony, making Higdon the base’s new senior enlisted advisor.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to have you joining our team,” Carroll said to Higdon. “Everything you have done as a recruiter, company gunnery sergeant, company first sergeant and a sergeant major at the (inspector-instructor) and (recruiting station) has uniquely equipped you to take over the reins here as the sergeant major for the installation.
“We look forward to learning from your vast experience and wisdom.”
Higdon, a native of Thomasville, comes to MCLB after serving as the inspector-instructor sergeant major for 4th Combat Engineer Battalion in Baltimore.
“You all have done an amazing job with accomplishing the mission here and supporting the Marine Corps warfighting effort,” the new MCLB sergeant major said to Marines and civilian Marines during the ceremony. “I am proud and honored to be a part of a winning team.”
Agee welcomed Higdon at the ceremony, wishing him well in his new role.
“I have no doubt that you stand ready for this challenge and this next chapter of your life,” he said. “I wish you and your family the best. May God give you strength and bless you with wisdom and grace as you execute your duties.”
A report from the ceremony said Carroll honored the retiring Marine by speaking of his “leadership and warrior ethos” and the benefits realized by the base in such instances as the Jan. 22 tornado that struck the installation’s industrial district, and the sheltering of 6,000 recruits and permanent personnel from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island at the base during the wrath of Hurricane Matthew.
“We are all better as a result of Sergeant Major Agee’s service,” the colonel said. “He is a professional in terms of holding the line when it comes to customs, courtesies and traditions. We say farewell to a giant whom we have been blessed to walk the halls and walk the grounds of our Corps with for 30 years.”
Agee said that the opportunity to serve in all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force has provided him different views of the Corps.
“This assignment here in Albany has played an important role in preparing me for my next assignment, which, of course, is retirement,” he said. “I am thankful I am no longer the 18-year-old that first put the Marine uniform on back in June of 1987.
“As I reflect, I’ve come to understand it’s the entire Marine Corps family — past and present — who helped me get to this point. No one gets through a Marine Corps career without the help of others — those above you, those of lesser grades, and of course, your peers.”
Agee concluded his comments at the ceremony by addressing the Marines.
“Two years ago I presented you with two challenges,” he said. “The first was that you govern your actions with honor, courage and commitment. The second was that you take care of one another. You’ve done that.
“Warriors, I know you will now welcome my successor, Sergeant Major Higdon, with open arms and continue demonstrating those great qualities all Marines are charged with on a daily basis.”
During the ceremony, Agee received the Legion of Merit, certificates from former President Obama, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller and Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, a certificate of retirement and an American flag.