Seabee Base Welcomes New Housing

Military families will soon find it easier to live on the Seabee Base in Gulfport. On Saturday, military and government officials broke ground on a new 18 point 7 million dollar housing development. The additional units will increase base housing by 50 percent.

Seabee Leonard Neal recently came back from a seven-month deployment to Guam. He says knowing his wife and two young daughters were living on base gave him peace of mind during the long separation, and he's glad 157 more military families than before will soon get that same opportunity.

"The security is the nice part of it," Neal said. "You don't have to worry about your family. You really don't have to worry about break ins and stuff like that."

Sen. Trent Lott say the country must recognize the sacrifices of the military and their family. He says the government should not just focus on constructing training facilities and warehouses for it's military but also build on increasing their quality of life.

"When we make sure that they understand we're going to take care of them and take care of their families in a responsible way," Lott said. "It helps their morale and it allows them to do a better job wherever they are around the world."

Military officials say the new development will continue in the spirit of the family type atmosphere that base housing provides.

"It's going to be in a tree-filled area, and there is going be a lot of open space," Base Commander Brian Kelm said. "We're going to put a lot of quality of life enhancements such as a kiddie parks and things like that so it's going to be a wonderful place to live."

The new housing development is scheduled to be finished in June 2003. Right now officials say there is about a three-year waiting list for base housing at the Seabee Base.

By Danielle Thomas