GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A plan to relocate Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14 to Gulfport is getting support from South Mississippi's Congressional representatives. Tuesday, U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, along with U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo announced that the Navy plans to bring more personnel to the Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport by October 2014.
The permanent duty station plan is expected to affect a dozen officer and enlisted billets, with an estimated annual payroll of more than $1 million. The plan would also involve 31 officer and 546 enlisted selected reserve personnel.
Last October, the Navy announced its plan to transfer two officer billets and 17 enlisted billets from the 7th Naval Construction Regiment to Gulfport, as well as one officer billet and another 11 enlisted billets from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27. Those personnel moves are also expected to be effective Oct. 1.
"The Navy's consolidation plans are increasing the Seabee presence in Mississippi," said Cochran, vice chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. "The Seabees have a long and respected history, and I'm pleased that Gulfport will host additional personnel to advance the Navy's naval construction missions."
"Mississippi's Seabee battalions have proven invaluable to our national security and image abroad," said Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The Navy's announcement bolsters that tradition and solidifies the strategic importance of Gulfport. Further, the relocation of these key naval personnel underscores Mississippi's ability to support our naval forces and military readiness."
"Gulfport has proven an exceptional value for the Navy from the time the first Construction Battalion began operating here in 1942," said Palazzo, a Marine veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee. "This announcement is welcome news for the Gulfport Seabee family, and for the entire South Mississippi military community."
The NMCB specializes in general engineering and limited combat engineering capabilities. It conducts engineering operations in support of combat operations, in addition to disaster recovery operations and contingency public works support during emergencies.