By Pamela Jackson
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany held its first employee recognition day at Boyett Park on Nov. 18. Serving as a supporting organization to more than 40 tenants, base employees, supervisors and leaders paused to spend the day of training, fellowship and of course, awards.
John Richard, operations and plans specialist, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, was named the base’s first Employee of the Year.
Richard, a retired master sergeant, arrived here as an active duty Marine in August 2002. He has been working in base operations as a civilian since June 2005.
Base operations is responsible for monitoring destructive weather, mission assurance, community relations activities, civilian and military ceremonies, and all other special events occurring on base.
“Prior to retirement, I was assigned as the military coordinator for what was then called Installation and Logistics Division. We were responsible for ensuring Marines received all of their required training and other needs,” he said. “Part of my responsibility was to help organize special events, ceremonies, community relations, military funerals and honors and all military training.”
Richard said several months later, a base operations and training division stood up, so he was moved to that office.
“Working in base operations is a great experience and there is always something different. Of all the events I helped coordinate, the one I’m most proud of is the dedication of the kennels to Corporal (Dustin J.) Lee,” he said. “A lot of work went into that event, but for a fallen Marine who was assigned to this installation to be honored in that way is what it is all about.”
Richard said the favorite part of his job is meeting and interacting with people.
“John is a low-key, even-tempered individual who is a total professional. He was nominated because he is the best of the best, said Bob James, deputy director, Operations and Training Division, MCLB. “His work ethic, ability to handle multiple significant tasks and initiative are all traits that make him a model person and employee.”
James said he knows when Richard is assigned a task, it will be done right the first time and he does not have to continually check up on him. Expectations are that the events will be executed in a professional manner that exemplifies what is expected of anything associated with Marines or the base.
“He is proactive and when he does discover problems, he always has a proposed solution. John is involved in just about every event that involves the base, which equates to over 200 per year,” James said. “Many of the events such as retirements, promotions, changes of command, the annual Battle Color Detachment ceremony are (all) attended by senior Marines, civilians and dignitaries. John is the person that makes this happen time and time again and it is noticed by all levels of command. It’s appropriate that he is recognized for his efforts.”
Richard said his decision to retire from the Marine Corps and remain in the area is due to all the cultural amenities the area has to offer and its close proximity to his family in Florida.
“There is always a festival or something new to enjoy almost every month here and I’m close enough to my family for them to have to call first before they show up,” he said with a laugh.
Richard, a native of Gainesville, Fla., joined the U.S. Marine Corps in June 1979, immediately after graduation from Santa Fe High School in Alachua, Fla. He immediately reported for recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
“I joined the Marine Corps because I was looking for a challenge. Being challenged was always a big thing for me, even though several family members were in the Army,” he said. “My uncle wanted me to join the Army, but after talking with a Marine recruiter, he sold me on the fact that only a few go through boot camp and are successful. I took that challenge on and spent the next 26 years on active duty.”
Richard said his initial plan was to join the Marine Corps for four years, then get out. He wanted to prove to his uncle and himself that he could do it (be a Marine).
“After my first tour, I decided that I wanted to stay in because I enjoyed the military lifestyle and the different people I met,” he said. “I was also given the opportunity to travel, learn and experience many different things. I truly loved it.”
Following recruit training and military occupational specialty school for training as a basic infantryman at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Richard was assigned to various duty stations throughout his career.
“Other than being a drill instructor, one of the best assignments I ever had was as the Marine advisor for a battalion of Seabees at Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Miss., before arriving here. I was the only Marine with nearly 750 Seabees and was always looked upon to set the example and be successful,” he said.
Richard said some of his other duty assignments included Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Marine Barracks Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Fla., Okinawa, Japan, and multiple tours during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Afghanistan.
“The most important thing we can do as leaders is to recognize the outstanding efforts of all of our employees,” said Kent Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany. “I have always admired and respected the way Marine Corps Logistics Command recognizes their employees and the base commanding officer and I decided that we will also start a process of employee recognition.”
Morrison said there were 11 EOTY nominations submitted and they all had impressive write-ups of their contributions to the mission of the base.
“John is the “go-to-guy” for every event that occurs on this base. His dedication, motivation, attention to detail and can-do spirit are respected by all members of not only the MCLB, but our tenants as well,” said Morrison. “He was selected by a panel of division directors for his continued outstanding support of more than 200 operational commitments the base performs yearly.”
Richard said he is grateful to have been selected as the first employee of the year for the base, but wishes this honor could be given to everyone.
“I was truly honored and humbled by the nomination for this award. All of the success that is being attributed to me is not just me, but everyone on this installation,” he said. “Ultimately, all the glory goes to God because he is responsible for all of my successes.”
PHOTO BY JASON M. WEBB
John Richard, operations and plans specialist, second from right, displays his Employee of the Year award at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Employee Recognition Day, Nov. 18, at Boyett Park. MCLB Albany command staff, Sgt. Maj. Stephen A. Thomas, far left, Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, and Kent Morrison, executive director, presented the award.