GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport Seabee Base is under new leadership. Captain Rick Burgess took the helm of the Naval Construction Battalion Center at a change of command ceremony on Friday. He said he's eager to build new relationships with the servicemen stationed here, and the people in the Gulfport community.
Normally, the Gulfport Seabee Base says goodbye to a commander about every two years, but the assignment turned out to be much shorter for Captain Lou Cariello. He's been reassigned to Italy to command the Naval Facilities Engineering Command for Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
"There's something I've recently figured out and that is that 10 months is just not a very long time," Cariello said.
His successor is Captain Rick Burgess whose military career spans nearly 25 years.
"My leadership style, I would characterize it as a lot of coaching, a lot of collaboration," Capt. Rick Burgess said. "Sometimes the person in charge needs to be in charge. But I really try to get the best out of the people that I'm working with and the ones that are working for me. I get all the benefit of their experience and their knowledge to get to the best solution."
The new base commander said he believes in strong military and community relationships.
Our Seabees, many of them live out in the community, they go to school in the community, they go to church in the community. So they are very much part of the fabric of that community," said Capt. Rick Burgess.
Of the 3,800 stationed at the base, officials say 1,700 are currently off serving around the world, including dangerous areas like Afghanistan.
Capt. Burgess said, "We're going to continue our mission, which is to prepare Seabees to make sure they're ready to go out and carry out their mission, whatever the mission is and where ever it is."
Burgess said he likes that Seabees are volunteering in schools and in the community and would like to look for more ways for them to get involved.