By MCC(SCW/SW/AW) Ryan G. Wilber, NCBC Public Affairs
BU2 Adam Merrill (right), a tactics and weapons instructor for Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2, gives instruction as Rear Adm. Rick Williamson, commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE), operates a MK-19 automatic grenade launcher simulator in the Tactical Training Facility Fire Arms Training Simulator (FATS) spaces at the during his first visit to Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport since assuming command in August.
Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) Rear Adm. Rick Williamson was on board Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport for a familiarization tour, Nov. 13. The visit was Williamson’s first tour of the Seabee base since assuming command in August.
Williamson visited several Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities, beginning with a tour of the base Fitness Center. Joan Hudson, MWR fitness director, conducted the tour, showing the admiral the several strength, cardio, swimming and sports facilities her staff has to offer base personnel.
“I was happy to have the opportunity to show the admiral our facility and all the different ways in which we are able to support our base personnel,” said Hudson.
Following his Fitness Center tour, Williamson toured Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Gulfport, where he not only received information, but also got hands on experience operating an excavator and welding simulator.
“It was great to see where we train young Seabees and the capabilities that the base has to support them in their training,” said Williamson. “Also, it’s not often that I have the opportunity to get on the equipment and move some dirt or test my welding skills against a simulator.”
Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2’s Tactical Training Facility was Williamson’s next stop on the tour, where he experienced a few ways in which Seabees work and train through the Combat Convoy Simulator and the crew-served weapons Firearms Training Simulator (FATS).
“It was an honor to show the admiral our team’s training facility,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Jason Brown, assigned to NCG 2. “I hope he we were able to give him at least a small experience of what it’s like to be a Seabee protecting our convoys while we move our supplies and equipment out to a remote job site.”
Williamson also visited the Gulfport Fleet and Family Service Center (FFSC), where he met with counselors and program managers, as well as the base Child Development Center (CDC), touring the spaces and interacting with the children and care givers.
Before departing, Williamson and CNRSE Command Master Chief Herbert Ellis sat down for a lunch with a group of enlisted Sailors from NCBC Gulfport. Both the admiral and master chief stressed the importance of being a “Shipmate,” remembering why they joined the Navy and the opportunities they have been given, and encouraged them to participate in positive organizations, such as Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD).
“Shipmate is a great word,” said Williamson. “That means we don’t let our Shipmate, our family, do something stupid, and if they decide to do something stupid we look out for them, take care of them. … You guys will have a lot more effect on these young Sailors than I ever will. … You’re there 24/7, and you see something that should or should not be happening you can engage and say something, because it’s the right thing to do.”
“Come together now,” added Ellis. “Don’t wait until something happens, you’ve got to bring it together now.”
Capt. Paul Odenthal, commanding officer, NCBC Gulfport said he believes the visit was very productive and successful.
“I’m very proud of our Sailors, Seabees and civilians,” said Odenthal. It was a pleasure to host the admiral and have the opportunity to show him all the great work they do every day.”