Story by Amber Vaglica, Naval Education and Training Command
Cmdr. Russell Bates relieved Cmdr. Ana Franco as commanding officer of Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Gulfport during a change of command ceremony at Construction Battalion Center Gulfport May 23.
The ceremony began with Franco acknowledging the performance of her NCTC staff.
“I am extremely proud of the tremendous work by this tri-service team,” said Franco. “You executed my command philosophy of ‘All in, Always!’ with complete professionalism, integrity and pride, and I am confident, that because of your efforts, our nation stands ready to deploy ready engineer forces all over the globe to enable warfighters and promote peace by building partnerships.”
With more than 20 years of naval service, Franco began her career at Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in 1997. She holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Miami and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida.
Franco received the Meritorious Service Medal for her outstanding service as NCTC commanding officer. During her tenure, NCTC Gulfport graduated over 16,000 students from all seven Seabee ratings, along with U.S. Air Force and Army students attending Builder “A” school, as part of an Inter-service Training Review Organization agreement.
Franco will serve next as the operations officer for Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington, D.C.
Bates graduated from Excelsior College in New York with a Bachelor of Science in administration management studies with a focus in biology. He previously served as chief staff officer of the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment. After assuming command, Bates commented that he is honored and humbled to have the opportunity to command NCTC Gulfport.
“This command has an outstanding history of delivering the very best in technical and military training not just for the Navy, but the Army and Air Force, too,” said Bates. For a majority of the students, NCTC is the second stop on their initial training pipeline, where both competence and character are developed. “I can think of no better job than to lead and train the future of our engineer forces, and I’m confident we have the right professionals, both military and civilian, to accomplish this mission.”
For more information about NCTC Gulfport, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/csfe/gulfport/ or follow NCTC Gulfport on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nctcgp/.