Mayor Responds To Navy Seabee Plans

According to Senator Trent Lott, the Navy's attachment to the Gulfport Seabee Base would bring 676 new military and civilian positions to South Mississippi.

The battalion, which would be known as N-M-C-B 11, would consist of 558 enlisted personnel and 21 officers.

Construction Regiment 25 would be composed of 64 enlisted personnel, 17 officers and 16 civilians.

Numbers that excite Gulfport mayor Brent Warr.

"To have the enthusiasm and the injection of the military presence in our community is very, very vital to Gulfport. We are a military community. We need it, and we appreciate our military and our veterans," says Warr.

He says the progress of the city post-Katrina is an example of what an additional attachment of Seabees would bring to the city and to all of South Mississippi.

They were among the first to begin recovery efforts, and with increased numbers, perhaps that will help continue the process with more speed.

Although the city may not be completely capable now to absorb more than 600 extra troops and their families, Mayor Warr is certainly ready to begin dealing with that issue.

"If we're not ready yet, we will be. Having more customers than you know what to do with is a good situation to be in. We certainly have a lot of challenges for housing, and absorption and support and being able to do that effectively is very important to us, but we'd certainly rather have that as a problem to deal with, than to not have the opportunity to have that problem," says Warr.

Senator Lott says the battalion will be established October 1st and will begin staffing next Spring.

The Seabee Base could not confirm Senator Lott's announcement.

However, we spoke to the base's public affairs officer Jean Remley Friday afternoon.

"We have not been notified by our chain of command, but as of right now, this would be a great shot in the arm for the local community and for the naval construction battalion center," say Remley.