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MCLB photographer retires after 28 years
BARSTOW • “PARIS” is graffitied on the side of a railroad car sitting on railroad tracks at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Yermo. Two firefighters extinguish a brush fire by a riverbed at the Nebo base.
Curt Lambert captured those moments and more with his camera after 28 years as a photographer for the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow.
MCLB Col. M.L. Scalise on Monday recognized Lambert, who retires next week, with the Department of Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
“He has filmed just about every major event that has happened on this installation ... every Marine that got promoted, he took their picture,” Scalise said.
Since Dec. 10, 1984, Lambert has taken official photographs of the base’s leadership, promotion photos of Marines and sailors, and a variety of events on the base.
While working as a laborer on the Yermo base, Lambert applied for the photographer job and got it. Lambert worked with his father at their family business, Lambert and Son Photography in 1976. There, he learned the basics of photography and how to process film.
“That’s where I learned photography and got my experience from my dad up in that business in Calico,” he said. “I never had any formal training.”
Through the years, Lambert captured more than 10,000 photos at MCLB. Lambert remembers crawling under a 60-ton tank to get the perfect shot. He most enjoyed documenting industrial photos of broken equipment. In the early 2000s, Lambert helped to transition the base from film to digital photography.
“It has been a lot of great satisfaction over the years,” he said.
MCLB spokesman Rob Jackson said Lambert is one of the best photographers he has worked with.
“He has taught quite a few of our Marines to be better photographers,” he said. “I’ve even learned a few things from him.”
Marine Corps Police Department Chief of Police Darwin O’Neal said while anyone can take a photo, Lambert has the unique ability to capture peoples’ emotions through his photographs.
“He has taken some great action photos of the police department in action ... he shows the history of things, to me, that’s what it is all about,” he said.
The base is searching for a new photographer to replace Lambert who retires on Oct. 1.
Cheri Magorno, a graphic artist, worked closely with Lambert for 10 years. Magorno called Lambert “a wonderful co-worker, teammate and friend.”
“It is the history, the knowledge that can’t be replaced,” she said.