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NCBC Gulfport provides support for NSA Panama City after Hurricane Michael

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS181012-10
Release Date: 10/12/2018 12:53:00 PM

From Commander, Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs

Gulfport, Miss. (NNS) -- Personnel at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Mississippi, have been doing their part to provide relief and support for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City, Florida, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

NCBC Gulfport initially took in about 50 evacuees from NSA Panama City and provided non-availability forms for others to stay in hotels off base once there were no more rooms available onboard the base, according to Lewis Fountain, NCBC Gulfport emergency manager.

Fountain said NCBC Gulfport also housed the security detachment from the Panama City base so that they would have a place where they could respond back to their installation quickly after the storm passed. The security forces left later that night to return to Florida and begin recovery operations. The emergency management team in Gulfport provided the NSA security forces with two cases of water and Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to take back with them to Panama City. Fountain said he also coordinated with the emergency management operations team in Panama City to have sleeping bags standing by for the security team when they arrived.

At noon Oct. 11, Capt. William Whitmire, NCBC Gulfport commanding officer, held a town hall for the evacuees from Panama City to talk with them about the continuing support the Gulfport base would be able to provide them. An installation ministry team from the Seabee Memorial Chapel was also on hand to provide counseling and religious services support.

"We introduced them to some of our staff to help get them connected with any base resources they might need, such as lodging support and galley availability. We're making sure that we're available to answer any questions they may have about what's going on in Panama City so that they can stay informed about recovery efforts and when they can return. We're happy to have them while they're here and help out in any way that we can," Whitmire said.

Due to lack of internet connectivity and spotty cell phone service in the Panama City area, the NCBC Gulfport Facebook page at NCBC Gulfport has been making updates for NSA Panama City, so that evacuees and other NSA personnel can keep up to date on events around the base, as well as community recovery efforts.

In addition, the Fleet and Family Support Center at NCBC Gulfport has been available to provide any support evacuees may need while displaced from the storm. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) onboard NCBC has helped in coordinating monetary assistance for single and married sailors to help them with any financial issues that may arise while evacuated, according to Alice Huffman, director of NMCRS Gulfport.

Huffman said evacuees can contact NMCRS Gulfport at (228) 871-2610 for more information on the types of relief they can provide in the wake of the storm, or they can visit the society's Facebook page at Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Gulfport or for more information. The Fleet and Family Center onboard NCBC Gulfport can also be reached at (228) 871-3000.

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