Base CO Colonel James Carroll Reflects on MCLB Albany Assignment
Thursday, May 24th, 2018
Just hours shy of the change of command, Colonel James C. Carroll III, reflects on his leadership during his assignment at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. Nearly three years ago, Carroll became the eighth commanding officer of MCLB Albany. Since then, Carroll developed and passed to his team the motto “win until the end.”
Win until the end motto
“We hit that collectively really in a bull's-eye,” Carroll explained.
He adopted the motto as a way to continue the positive momentum aboard the base and the community. But when times were tough, it was that mantra that encouraged Marines and civilian-Marines to push forward despite daily challenges.
“As long as we have forces, Marines, sailors, airmen, (soldiers) and coast guardsmen stationed around the world … you have to continue to keep pressing even after you hit that three-point shot. Or more importantly, to keep pressing when you don’t make the shot,” Carroll remarked.
According to Carroll, the motto was a launching pad for what can be on the installation in terms of striving for excellence, and ultimately supporting the warfighter.
It was most manifested in building and maintaining relationships with base tenants like LOGCOM.
“Our goal is always to be in a place where we have a seamless relationship with all of our tenants that they can call us in a moment’s notice and know that it will be taken care of … and then long-term we receive residual benefits,” Carroll added.
During the summer of 2017, LOGCOM had a record number of interns. And because of a strong relationship, LOGCOM shared some of the interns and resources with the base command.
But like many installations, there’s always areas of growth or improvement. One top priority for Carroll was safety.
VPP Star Status Site
“Everyone has taken on the attitude that I’m a safety manager,” Carroll remarked.
Having received the first Voluntary Protection Program Star Status designation in 2015, safety was already engrained in the base culture prior to the arrival of Carroll.
MCLB Albany was awarded the 2017 Department of Defense Voluntary Protection Program Achievement Award. Despite being home to one of the largest and most complex Marine Corps maintenance facilities and warehouse depots, the command reduced the total number of serious injuries by 86 percent, and avoided $7 million in injury costs to the Marine Corps and civilian workforce.
“What does it matter that we come in and produce all of this good work but yet someone is hurt in the process. How do we look that family member or that child in the eye? And say hey, we did everything we could do or we did not do everything we could do to protect your mom and your dad,” Carroll explained.
In 2018, the VPP star status was renewed under Carroll’s leadership. He fully supported the program by fighting for resources that are vital to risk management personnel and ensured they have the necessary training to do their job safely and efficiently.
But even with all the safety mechanisms and protocols in place, it wouldn’t stand a chance against the forces of Mother Nature.
Natural disaster strikes
“One of the things we do here in Albany that sets us apart and keeps us ready is that we train for these types of missions,” Carroll said.
The mission he’s referring to is the safe haven partnership where recruits and Department of Defense personnel can come to MCLB Albany to continue their various missions during inclement weather. For the first time since 2000, Carroll was responsible for executing that plan for 6,000-plus recruits who evacuated Parris Island during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Carroll added, “It was our responsibility. We took on that mission and we wanted to make sure the Marine Corps mission of making Marines would continue.”
Annual drills like Twisting Thunder -- a simulated tornado exercise in 2014 -- prepared Carroll, the emergency operations team and other essential personnel for the EF3 tornado that destroyed some of the industrial areas on the base.
“It took basically steel buildings that were girded down with big concrete pillars and crushed them as if they were aluminum cans,” Carroll remarked.
Luckily, the tornado happened on a Sunday and not during the week when a few thousand personnel are typically in the area. Carroll was even pleased to see how quickly the recovery began, attributing it to, “the resiliency in terms of our energy and facilities,” Carroll said.
In the last five years, all of the distribution networks like underground water, drainage, and electricity were updated so critical infrastructure can sustain itself in the event of a storm.
But he also credits MCLB’s partnerships with local, regional and state-level first responders in assisting with those recovery efforts.
Carroll recalled, “(Dougherty County) County Commissioner Chairman Chris Cohilas (called to say MCLB Albany took a hit) and he says call me after you assess it, and the county is standing by to assist in any way possible.”
Not to mention, there are now several partnerships MCLB Albany has developed in the community due to Carroll’s commitment to the Corps’ new Installation Partnership Program. This includes an agreement with Albany State University unpaid interns; a special weapons and tactics agreement with local law enforcement; and an intergovernmental service agreement with Albany Utilities to provide solid waste services, water testing, street sweeping, and to respond to water and gas line problems at the base.
But one area that’s really evolved under his watch is the energy program.
Base of the Future
“Our energy program has really been an evolution across multiple commanders,” Carroll explained.
MCLB Albany continues to seek new opportunities to reduce its energy consumption by way of renewable sources which include, America’s first-ever Borehole Thermal Energy Storage system to heat and cool buildings; a second landfill gas-to-energy generation to power the production plant; and a future capstone project, the 7+ megawatt biomass steam-fed generator to reduce the base’s electrical consumption by 15 percent.
The Secretary of Navy issued a 2020 mandate, which projected that 50 percent of the Marine Corps' bases and stations would be Net Zero energy consumers by 2020.
Carroll is departing the base leaving behind countless commendable accomplishments.
Some of his many notable accolades include, renewing Marine Corps Installations designation as a Voluntary Protection Star Site by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, receiving the Ground Safety Excellence Award, reopening the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and welcoming the Georgia Army National Guard facility.
Carroll will transfer his authority to Col. Alfonso Trimble during a ceremony on Schmid Field on May 24th.
“We’re leaving the team in a good place that they can continue to build on,” Carroll added.
Carroll will take his “win until the end” motto to the Office of Secretary Defense Policy where he will embark upon new challenges.