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Marine Corps Logistics Base to commemorate 70 years of service
BARSTOW • Established in January 1943, the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow is commemorating 70 years of activation this month.
The base is only one of two maintenance installations for the U.S. Marine Corps and is the second largest employer in Barstow.
Lewis Roe, a World War II and Korean War Veteran, was a Marine stationed at the base in 1959. Until 1963, he served as a manager of the enlisted club in building 218; now home to the base’s library. Roe said he remembers a time when the base had 1,500 to 2,000 Marines and 2,500 civilian workers.
Currently the base supports about 100 Marines and 1,845 civilian workers, according to base spokesman Rob Jackson and the City of Barstow web site.
“We had quite a few Marines back then,” Roe said.
Roe, 86, recalls his time as a manager with duties including arranging entertainment for the restaurant and keeping track of the books.
“My duty was to make sure that the enlisted, Sergeants and below had a club run according to the manual and a place to relax. Just like any club or dining facility,” Roe said.
Throughout World War II, the Vietnam and Korean Wars, the base was a hub of military activity providing maintenance and repair services to those fighting in the war, according to Jackson.
The dry climate of the Mojave Desert, and Barstow’s unique location between the transcontinental railroad network and three major highway systems made it an ideal location for keeping military supplies and services, Roe said.
Comprised of three principal sites: Nebo, Yermo Annex, and the rifle and pistol ranges, the base provides Marine support to forces west of the Mississippi River and to the Far East and Asia.
“The support never stops,” Jackson said.
Still, the base’s railhead is instrumental in transporting military equipment for Fort Irwin’s rotational units and is the only military installation that has a railhead on base, according to Jackson.
The counterpart to MCLB-Barstow is located in Albany, Georgia.
To commemorate its 70th year MCLB personnel are arranging a historical display of armored personnel carriers from the Vietnam War era and a new base museum with old photos, newspaper clippings, and other items on display.
The date when these exhibits will be complete is to be announced.
Information on the base can be found online at www.mclbbarstow.marines.mil.