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Marine Corp Logistics Base-Albany gets new commander in on-base ceremony

Col. Alphonso Trimble transferred his command of Marine Corp Logistics Base-Albany to to Col. Michael J. Fitzgerald on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

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By TOM SEEGMUELLER | The Albany Herald | Published: July 2, 2020

ALBANY, Ga. (Tribune News Service) — Command is considered one of the greatest roles a military officer can assume. Col. Alphonso Trimble not only transferred his command of Marine Corp Logistics Base-Albany Wednesday, he also retired from the Corps.

Asked the significance of the command change, Trimble said, “It is the fact that we are transferring total responsibility and accountability for whatever happens on the installation to another person. It’s just an official ceremony that puts the icing on the cake once the orders are read. The ceremony takes place and it transfers that authority. It lets the public know that authority has been transferred.”

An excerpt from the program for the Change of Command Ceremony stated, “Throughout the Marine Corps each week, command changes at many levels. It may be the informal assumption of duties by a fire team leader or the formal passing of the organizational colors. However, from that moment of acceptance until relieved, that individual stands accountable. It is this concept of command that has proven successful for Marines throughout history.”

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Trimble relinquished his command to Col. Michael J. Fitzgerald. Like most transfers, the reports were read, the orders were published and the Battle Colors were transferred. Unlike many, following the playing of the National Anthem the commander retired.

His journey to that moment in time began 33 years ago in Dayton, Ohio, when he enlisted in the Corps straight out of high school. Following basic training, he followed his gunnery sergeant’s advice and got a college degree through the Navy Reserved Officers Training Corps.

Following his graduation with a degree in Physics, Trimble was commissioned as a Marine Aviation Logistician. During his career he was deployed in the Pacific, Japan, Korea, Hawaii and on the East Coast.

Some of his assigned duties included serving as the assistant aviation supply officer for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29, the future plans officer for Marine Forces Pacific, commanding officer of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, operations chief for U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations Command.

Trimble also had other staff assignments at Headquarters Marine Corps, Office of the Secretary of the Navy and Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy. His duties had him serving at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, when it was attacked by terrorists.

“My dad’s advice to treat people the way you would want to be treated has always influenced me,” Trimble said. He also credited a long list of mentors from the Navy and Marines who stood out because they took the time to humbly mentor and educate the young officer on his path toward command.

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Trimble acknowledged the contributions the collected military and community leaders who gathered to acknowledge his success in both the Corps and at at MCLB-Albany.

“You have a community team like Barbra Rivera Holmes, who runs the chamber working day in and out to see the base is successful here," Trimble said. "Dr. Anthony Parker with the Albany Technical College that makes sure the skill sets required to move on to the next generation of our work force is being developed. Scott Steiner, CEO of Phoebe Putney Hospital System, he makes sure on a daily basis he works closely with our Naval Branch Clinic and the team here to make sure our Marine families and civilian families are taken care of across southwest Georgia.”

Trimble said he had a challenging two-year run as the CO at the Albany installation. Not only was he faced with reacting to the local challenges presented by a hurricane and tornado, when the base accommodated more than 6,500 Marines and personnel from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., to continue their journey toward becoming Marines.

The Corps established an emergency management support base with the Corp of Engineers and FEMA to restore power to more than 37,000 southwest Georgians following those weather events, all while continuing to pursue efforts at MCLB to pilot fifth-generation technology and achieve NetZero energy ratings.

“The NetZero effort is where we produce energy from renewable resources to meet our energy needs,” Trimble explained. “It will continue to add to the energy resilience of the base, and we’re excitedly awaiting its completion in late 2020. This will be a first system of its kind for the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy, maybe even DOD. As far as 5G goes, MCLB-Albany was selected by the Department of Defense as one of four of its initial bases for prototyping and experimentation of 5G technology."

The base also faced the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The last few months here, we’ve had this virus impacting us," Trimble said. "I’ve had people re-evaluate their lives; it’s done a number on folks.

“I want to thank my beautiful bride for all of her sacrifice ... love you, babe. I mean it. I know you and Matthew have gone through some challenging times while I’ve been here. But I thank you for allowing me to take care of the Marines and take care of the families here."

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