Naval Special Ops train on Pearl River

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's an intense battle that looks real, but the men of special boat team 22 are training for the job they're charged to do. They deliver and retrieve special forces groups, like the Navy Seals.

Capt. Chuck Wolf, Commander of the Naval Special Warfare said, "The men of SBT-22 have been in combat continuously for over 1,050 days. They started in the West of Iraq then moved to Central Iraq, then North of Iraq. Now, they are pushing into the South Of Iraq. And most of the lessons learned, that those guys are using directly on the battle field were learned here."

Special Boat Team 22 moved its operation to Hancock County from Louisiana 11 years ago.

Wolf said, "We've gone from about 70 personnel when we first moved here in 1998 to almost 400 personnel."

That growth has prompted a need for more space. Friday, leaders broke ground on what will be the new operations facility.

"That will be a command and control facility that will provide administrative spaces for the headquarters," Wolf said.

A second building will house the 25 special operations craft that cost about a million dollars each.

"And they are stored externally right now they're outdoors they are exposed to the weather and what this facility will do is allow us to store them indoors," said Wolf.

Senator Thad Cochran played a key role in helping to secure the funds to build the $10 million facility.

Myrtis Franke with Senator Thad Cochran's Office said, "He's especially proud that you are based here in Mississippi. You have trained and worked hard here at Stennis, but you've done it without the facilities that you deserve for far too long."

Doug Brown, Command Master Chief Special Boat Team 22 said, "The level in which we train and the mission that we actually perform, you can't provide enough state of the art equipment to protect lives."

The facility is expected to be finished in April of 2010.