Seabees get hurricane ready during two-week exercise - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Seabees get hurricane ready during two-week exercise

Cmdr. Ronald Jenkins is serving as senior watch officer during the two-week hurricane preparedness exercise. (Photo source: WLOX) Cmdr. Ronald Jenkins is serving as senior watch officer during the two-week hurricane preparedness exercise. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

You may be surprised to know that a simulated hurricane has hit Gulfport, and recovery efforts are underway. It’s all part of an exercise to prepare the Naval Construction Battalion Center for the real thing.

Officials say the more the Seabees are ready, the better for the rest of us.

“The more we're prepared and ready to take care of our own, the faster we can respond to the community,” said Cmdr. Ronald Jenkins, NCBC executive officer.

Friday’s demonstration of the emergency operations center at the Seabee Base is part of a nationwide natural disaster preparedness exercise by the Navy. It’s a complex effort for a simple purpose: To protect lives and property.

Jenkins serves as the senior watch officer during the two-week Navy exercise. In this scenario, category three Hurricane Finley just hit and the base is doing damage assessments and accounting for base personnel.

“We’re better prepared after this week,” Jenkis said. “Like any exercise, we will take our lessons learned, and we’ll see where we can get better.”

Charles Taylor, housing director for the base, knows as well as anyone the importance of this operations center. He spent a lot of time here during Hurricane Katrina.

“The recovery efforts were second to none based upon the efforts of everyone that was involved with those recovery efforts here at CBC Gulfport,” Taylor said.

He added that the base is better prepared than ever before.

“Katrina, if she didn't do anything else, she showed us that it is absolutely necessary for you to have a plan of action of what you're going to do with yourself as well as your family,” Taylor said. “It’s not something to play with. That’s why we don’t play with it.”

The exercise, which includes installations from Guantanamo Bay to Fort Worth, TX, ends May 19.

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