Posts, Camps Stations and Airfields
Marine Corps Logistics
Depot, Marine Corps Depot of Supplies, Marine Barracks)
Logistics Base, Barstow
The Marine Corps Logistics Base is located
134 miles east of Los Angeles and 152 miles southwest of Las
Vegas in the San Bernardino County High Desert. The City of Barstow
has a population of over 22,000. Major Commands include: Base
Support Division (BSD) Facilities & Services Div (FSD) Human
Resource Division (HRD) Resources Mgmt Division (RMD) Fleet Support
Division (FSDiv) MC Multi-Commodity Maintenance Center (MC)3
Special Staff Offices (SSO) Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR)
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
The mission of the Logistics Base is to
procure, maintain, repair and rebuild, store, and distribute
supplies and equipment as assigned; to conduct such schools and
training as may be directed; and to perform such tasks and functions
as may be directed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps or the
Commander, MCLB-Albany, GA. These services are generally provided
to Marine Corps forces west of the Mississippi River and to the
Far East. The counter- part to MCLB-Barstow is located in Albany
and supplies nstallations east of the Mississippi.
The highly technical nature of the work
done there requires a stable work force that can be best achieved
by career civilians. At the same time, Marines posted to the
fleet from Barstow carry with them an intimate acquaintance with
the most advanced technical knowledge in their respective fields,
this increasing the capabilities of the field commander. Some
500 Marines and sailors work side-by-side with approximately
2,000 civilian employees, in many instances performing identical
work. While the Divisions are directed by a Marine Officer, the
Human Resources Division, the Morale, Welfare & Recreation
Division, Resources Management Division, and many branch and
sections are headed by civilian employees.
Active duty military are approximately
500 (Navy & Marines); Family members living here are approximately
1,000; Retirees living in a 30 mile radius number approximately
8,000; Civilian employees number around 2,500; Army Personnel
living on base are around 230 personnel and their families.
The Marine Corps Logistics Base, presently
the 2nd largest employer in the Barstow area, was established
at its present location on December 28, 1942, when the United
States Navy turned it over to the Marine Corps. It had originally
been planned as a naval supply depot, but the Chief of Naval
Operations directed that the facility be transferred to the Marine
Corps as a storage site for supplies and equipment needed for
the Fleet Marine Forces in the Pacific theater during World War
II. It was then known as the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies and
was under the military command of the Commanding General, Marine
Corps Depot of Supplies in San Francisco, CA. The first local
commander was Major David F. Ross. The land was purchased from
several individuals, including the family of Walter Ross, whose
tomb is located on the base in the Nebo area and is given perpetual
care by the Marine Corps. By the end of WWII in 1945, the depot
had outgrown it original facilities. In October of 1946, a 2,000-acre
holding and re-consignment point belonging to the Army was annexed
by the depot. Located 3 miles west of the town of Yermo, this
became the Yermo-Annex.
In 1954 the Commanding General, Marine
Corps Depot of Supplies, moved his flag from San Francisco to
Barstow. Since that time, the Logistics Base has grown in stature,
strength and size. On November 1, 1978, the base was re-designated
to its present title to emphasize its broad support mission.
The base is divided into 2 areas, Nebo and the Yermo Annex. The
base headquarters as well as administrative, storage, shopping,
recreational and housing facilities are located at Nebo. Nebo
is a Biblical word, and at one time, on the site where the base
headquarters is now located, Mormon settlers organized the Nebo
Sheep Company. Then the railroad came and when a name was needed
for the railhead, Nebo was chosen. Thus, when the base was activated
in 1942, its railhead name was Nebo, which has been translated
to mean "Little Shepherd." History tells us that at
least 3 Indian tribes lived in and around the Barstow-Yermo area.
The word Yermo, according to longtime residents of the town of
Yermo, is an Indian word meaning "Desert Flower." (MC)3
repair facility is located at the Yermo Annex as well as the
base stables, Obregon Park, and the bulk of Fleet Support Division's
Originally established in 1961 as the
Repair Division, Marine Corps Supply Center, Barstow, California,
the Depot Maintenance Activity (DMA) was charted as an industrial-funded
DMA in July 1968 and in October 1976. The DMA was included in
the implementation of the DoD uniform cost accounting procedures
using stabilized rates. The base itself was renamed MCLB Barstow
on 1 November 1978.
The MCLB is located within 150 miles of
the two major waterways, Port of Los Angeles and San Diego, which
are the primary storage and distribution facilities for Marine
Corps forces west of the Mississippi and to forces that are part
of the Pacific Fleet.
Located at a railroad hub, MCLB Barstow
is ideally situated to accomplish its mission of supporting U.S.
Marine Corps units along the west coast and in the Pacific. Barstow
functions as the western division point for Santa Fe's Transcontinental
mainline and is also served by the Union Pacific's mainline to
Los Angeles. The $55 million rail classification center in Barstow
is the largest rail reclassification operation in the world.
Barstow is located at the crossroads of the national interstate
highway system -- the intersection of Interstate routes 15 and
40 -- and the California State highway system as well.
MCLB Barstow itself possesses the largest
Department of Defense railhead in the world. The outstanding
rail and highway transportation network available to MCLB Barstow
means that it is located within one day's travel time by road
or rail of virtually all of the Marine Corps units which it serves.
Barstow is served by three major highways
- Interstates 15 and 40, both of which pass by the Base, and
State Highway 58. Barstow also intersects 2 of America's busiest
cross-country railroads, the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and
the Union Pacific, all of which make possible the receiving and
rapid shipment to vital supplies and equipment to any part of
the United States.
In addition, emergency shipments can be
airlifted from the Daggett Airport, located 14 miles east of
MCLB-Nebo area and 7 miles east of MCLB-Yermo Annex. Daggett
has 6,000 feet of runway, allowing large aircraft to land there.
The base employs a combined military-civilian work force.
The desert site has excellent outdoor
storage conditions (made possible by the absence of rainfall
and low humidity) which limits mold, rust and mildew to the equipment.
The outdoor cost of storage is minimal compared to the cost of
erecting warehouses to store large items like tanks, cranes and
other heavy equipment.
Between MCLB Barstow and the other MCLB
(MCLB Albany, Ga), only Barstow has a climate that allows outdoor
storage of all types of supplies for nearly indefinite periods
of time. The absence of a requirement to construct sheltered
storage facilities at MCLB Barstow translates into significant
cost savings over MCLB Albany. MCLB Barstow is not subject to
flooding as has occurred at MCLB Albany, Ga. When, in late spring
1994, the Chattahoochee river flooded its banks following a massive
rainfall rendering it a federal disaster site. Precisely because
of the ideal climactic conditions at MCLB Barstow, the Defense
Logistics Agency (DLA), (which in 1992 took over much of the
material storage function at MCLB Barstow from the Marine Corps),
is considering further enhancing and expanding the materiel storage
function of the Barstow facility.
MCLB Barstow is a state-of-the-art facility
which is well-suited for repairing and maintaining the "smart"
weapons currently under development for future use by the Marine
Corps and other services. This capability was recently recognized
by the Department of Defense when it selected MCLB Barstow as
one of only seven repair depots in the entire U.S. to pioneer
a new, high-tech process called Flexible Computer Integrated
Manufacturing (FCIM), which will allow the inexpensive manufacture
of parts to order for delivery in less than thirty days.
The Barstow installation is solvent, while
many of the repair depots of the other services have recently
operated in the red. In head-to-head competition with the private
sector for Defense Department contracts, MCLB Barstow has "won"
two of the three competitive bidding processes in which it was
allowed to participate.
In testimony before the U.S. House Appropriations
Defense Subcommittee, a contingent of Army, Air Force, and Marine
Corps generals agreed that MCLB Barstow is essential to support
Navy/Marine Corps operations in the Pacific and must be kept
open. MCLB Barstow has not been recommended for closure by the
Department of Defense in any of the previous four BRAC rounds.
Instead, the Pentagon recommended that the Barstow facility receive
personnel from other bases slated for closure or downsizing.
Any further consideration in subsequent
closure processes, to consolidation of repair and maintenance
functions, must recognize the superiority of the Barstow facility
in terms of climate and cost effectiveness in relation to other
potential facilities. Savings from base closure would likely
be minimal. If one lesson can be drawn from experience to date
with the base closure process, it is that the expenses associated
with base closure and clean-up invariably escalate beyond the
The Marine Corps Logistics Bases (MCLB)
at Albany, Georgia, and Barstow, California, comprise a two-base
supply and depot maintenance complex that provides worldwide
expeditionary logistics support to the Fleet Marine Force (FMF)
and other forces and agencies. The repair facilities operate
as multi-commodity maintenance centers. The maintenance center
(MC) is an integral part of the Marine Corps Logistics Base,
and works closely with the other organizations in carrying out
the mission of the base, which is to provide logistics support
to Marine Forces that will maintain continuous readiness and
sustainment necessary to meet operational requirements.
The Marine Corps Maintenance Centers (MCs)
do not specialize in the support of a specific commodity. They
are capable of supporting Marine Corps ground combat and combat
support equipment. Personnel are cross-trained to apply common
skills to work on a variety of equipment in different commodities.
This affords the Marine Corps MCs the flexibility to rapidly
realign their work force to meet the changing requirements of
the FMF. It should be noted that while the MCs' capacity for
each major commodity is highly flexible, their total capacity
is relatively constant.
of Supplies, Marine Barracks at Depot of Supplies (2005)
by Justin Ruhge
While Marines were fighting World War II on Guadalcanal, the
Marine Corps established a Marine Corps Depot of Supplies at
Barstow to provide storage and warehouse facilities for equipment
from the San Francisco Depot of Supplies. Begun in June 1942
as a Navy Supply Depot, it was given to the Marine Corps that
December. The Marine Corps activated the Depot on January 4,
1943. The climate and available transportation made Barstow a
desirable site for a supply center. The hot, dry climate enabled
the Marine Corps to store many items outside, thus saving on
storage costs. Three major highways and two railroads pass through
The 5,387 acres of the base are divided
into three areas. Nebo 1, 268 acres has a biblical name, allegedly
given to it by early Mormon settlers. Yermo 1, 680 acres, is
claimed by old-timers to be an Indian name meaning "desert
flower". 2,438 acres is used for the rifle and pistol range.
Early in 1946 repair equipment was installed at Barstow, and
on July 15, the Depot was renamed the Marine Corps Storage and
Repair Depot. During the early days of the Korean War, in July
1950, the Barstow technicians and mechanics worked around the
clock to equip the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton for
the Inchon-Seoul Campaign. During the crisis some 200 pieces
of mobile equipment left the repair facilities each day. That
achievement gave the Depot the nickname of "Little Detroit".
The Barstow Depot, because of its size
and equipment, soon began to pass the San Francisco installation
in importance. In 1953-1954 the Marine Corps began to phase out
the San Francisco Depot and concentrate its major supply operations
at Barstow. Upon completion of the transfer of responsibility,
the Marine Corps redesignated the Depot as the Marine Corps Supply
Center on July 1, 1954.
The Center then had responsibility for
logistics for all Marine Corps activities west of the Mississippi
River, throughout the Pacific Ocean area, and in the Far East.
It is larger than the senior Marine Corps Logistics Base at Albany,
Georgia, and stocks more than 140,000 line items of equipment.
The center received the Meritorious Unit
Citation for its work during the war in Southeast Asia from April
1, 1965 to December 1970. Over 70 percent of the supplies shipped
to Marines in Vietnam and the Third Force Service regiment on
Okinawa were provided by the Center. It functioned efficiently
during the buildup, combat, and withdrawal phase of Marine Corps
participation in that war.