GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There's been a change in South Mississippi's military community. The Gulfport Seabee base held a ceremony Wednesday morning for the de-commissioning of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven. The battalion may be gone, but the "Spirit of Seven" lives on.
"NMCB-7 has a rich history that began back in June of 1942," said Rear Admiral Mark Handley, who was among the speakers at the ceremony.
This de-commissioning is the latest chapter in that rich history. One former leader noted it was appropriate that "seven" former commanders gathered to mark this latest transition for the battalion nicknamed the "Magnificent Seven."
"The spirit of seven will live with all of us and be representation of the amazing Seabee history and espri decor found nowhere else," said NMCB-7 Commander James Meyer. "We will always be, magnificent seven Seabees."
Commander Meyer recited a list of recent battalion accomplishments, which includes a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
"I won't bore you with the facts, such as how the battalion traveled over 10,000 miles of hostile road, built thousands of square feet of new infrastructure, built and maintained miles of roads through the most difficult terrain, or drilled thousands of feet of water wells," said Commander Meyer.
Seabees from NMCB-7 were among the first to help the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
"Responding to natural disasters to help those in need, even when their own family was affected, as was the case with Katrina. Long periods, far away from home, often in very arduous conditions. Deployments into combat in Afghanistan, two wars in Iraq," said Rear Admiral Christopher Mossey.
This may not be a "final farewell" to NMCB-7,since this marks the third time it's been de-commissioned since its creation in 1942.
Changing world conditions over the years caused U.S. leaders to re-instate the "magnificent seven."
One of the "heroes" mentioned during Wednesday's ceremony was Chief Petty Officer Joel Baldwin. He was a member of NMCB-7 and was killed in Iraq in December of 2004.