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LtCol. Micheal Graham, outgoing commanding officer, 1st Force Storage Battalion, is presented the Legion of Merit (second award) by Col. Kipp Walgren, commanding officer, Marine Force Storage Command, during a change of command ceremony held aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California, June 8.

Photo by Rob L. Jackson

1st Force Storage Battalion changes hands

11 Jun 2021 | Laurie Pearson PEO Land Systems

As Lieutenant Colonel Micheal Graham departs for school, Lieutenant Colonel LaBarron McBride assumes command of 1st Force Storage Battalion during a Change of Command ceremony held aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California, June 8.

   The incoming Lt. Col. McBride humbly deflects attention during the big day.

   “This ceremony is an opportunity for Lt. Col. Graham to say goodbye and thank the command for all of their hard work. The attention should be on him, not me,” said McBride. “I’m the new guy that needs to come in, learn more about the unit, the people, and the mission and get to work!”

   Meanwhile, he commends Lt. Col. Graham for all of the work he has done in standing up the new unit, and getting it running so quickly and efficiently.

   “Lieutenant Colonel Graham has done a phenomenal job standing up the battalion and bringing forth innovative capabilities within the storage, maintenance and accountability realm,” McBride said. “I am walking into a very capable and synchronized unit and look forward to finding ways to enable the team.”

   Coming from the MCLB Barstow Operations Division, McBride is fully versed in base processes and logistics.

   “It was a great opportunity to work as the Operations Director for the installation prior to moving to 1st Force Storage Battalion,” he said. “Colonel Clemans and the team truly care about the quality of service for Tenant Commands and the families aboard the installation. The knowledge gained and the relationships built over the last 10 months will be extremely beneficial in my new role. You can’t underestimate the value of knowing the other person on the line when you need external support.”

   In his remarks to his Marines and civilians alike, Graham expressed his gratitude for coming together, not just as a team, but also as the 1st FSB family.

   “To the Marines… the base Marines and my Marines, this could not happen without you. So, a special thanks to you. This, what we do here every day, we do for you. So, thank you for being here,” said Graham. “To the 1st FSB family, I cannot say enough. I came here, and I was over confident. We had been here before, so I knew the area. I knew a lot of the people, and we already have relationships, so ‘I’ve got this!’ This goes back to General Shrader’s comments when we did the assumption of command. ‘You are building the airplane as you fly.’ When I went to the Cornerstone Conference, they said this command was going to be a two-year sprint. I still came in confident. It has been a two-year sprint and we are building that airplane. But this plane is flying, and it’s flying soundly, because of each and every one of you. We have a lot of great experience in here. I know that I could expect as just about anything of you, and you’d be good at it.”

   He joked about going home at night and sometimes being grumpy, but in the end, he said he always went home proud of what they were accomplishing.

   “When I go home at night, I know that I’m blessed. I have a great team. I have a great 1st FSB family,” he said. “Three or four years ago, an inventory would take us about three years to complete and we would have about 40 percent accuracy. Now it takes us three to four months. The lowest rating we’ve had is 98.5. That’s bragging rights to each and every one of you. That’s how far each and every one of you has brought this battalion, because of the great things you have done. You guys have embodied this organization. You’ve grabbed onto innovation. You’ve come together as a team. You’ve come together as a family. And I cannot thank you enough.”

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