Chamber tours MCLB - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chamber tours MCLB

April 27, 2004

Albany- The Albany Chamber of Commerce got a first-hand look at what goes on behind the secured gates at the Marine Corps Logistics Base.

"This is just so important to Albany, Dougherty County, and all the surrounding counties," says Lou Johnson of the Chamber of Commerce.

It's even more important for the 2,500 civilians who make their living at the base.

"This has certainly been a very important part of my life. It's a good place to work. We're direct support for the Marine in the field. It's the finest job I've ever had," says Program Analyst Burt Black who has worked at the base since 1989.

He and other employees say working at MCLB has been one of the best jobs they've ever had.

"To me, it's an honor for me to be here and be able to help out and earn money at the same time," admits painter Andre Westbrook who says he's banking on the base to stay open so that he can retire from his job there.

The employees say they understand how important repairing vehicles and equipment is for the Marines on the front lines, and it's time for everyone else to realize it as well.

"This is one of two combat depots for the Marine Corps. If you close this depot or the depot in Barstow, you'd be cutting that support to the Marine Corps in half. So, basically how many Marines do you not want to support? How much of the Department of Defense do you not want to support? And that's what I'd tell Donald Rumsfeld," exclaims Black.

He and his co-workers may never get the chance to relay that message, but they're hoping those that are, will.

Albany business and civic leaders have already been to the capital and have started a lobbying effort aimed at keeping MCLB off the Department of Defense's list of 100 bases they plan to close.

Posted at 4:50 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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