2006 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Cuevas, Albritton, Browning, Butler, Carmichael, Frazier, Harden, Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), Jordan, King, Little, Moffatt, Turner, White
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE NAVAL METEOROLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY COMMAND, THE NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE AND THE FLEET SURVEY TEAM, BASED AT THE STENNIS SPACE CENTER, AND REAR ADMIRAL TIMOTHY MCGEE (U.S. NAVY), AND THE NAVAL MOBILE CONSTRUCTION BATTALION SEVEN (SEABEES) AND COMMANDER DAVE SASEK, FOR PERFORMING EXEMPLARY SERVICE ON THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST DURING THE HURRICANE KATRINA CRISIS.
WHEREAS, on Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, a Category Four Hurricane, crashed with unrelenting and violent force onto the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast, making landfall at or around Waveland, Mississippi. In one day, the worst natural disaster in our history struck us a grievous blow, leaving a 90-mile swath of unprecedented destruction along the coast and causing severe damage throughout central and north Mississippi; and
WHEREAS, under the command of Rear Admiral Timothy McGee (U.S. Navy) the personnel of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC), the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) and the Fleet Survey Team (FST) located at the John C. Stennis Space Center demonstrated untiring stamina and unparalleled dedication in responding to the Category Four Hurricane Katrina; and
WHEREAS, demonstrating superior leadership in directing a wide variety of pre-storm preparations and post-storm recovery efforts, while continuing to support worldwide fleet requirements for oceanographic information, they established a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week unified command Emergency Operations Center, and conducted the extraordinary 24-hours-a-day "house-to-house" personnel reconnaissance and recovery effort, leading to a 100% accountability within 10 days of storm passage. Salvage operations were coordinated using CNMOC, NAVOCEANO, Naval Construction Battalion and Marine Corps active duty and reserve and Army National Guard personnel to recover and salvage the personal effects from over 1,000 Navy Stennis personnel whose homes were severely affected or destroyed by the storm; and
WHEREAS, additional volunteer relief efforts were consolidated throughout an area encompassing the Mississippi Counties of Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River and the Louisiana Parish of St. Tammany. In conjunction with senior NASA officials, a cadre of dedicated volunteers developed and implemented the "Stennis Helping Stennis" Program, designed to assist Stennis Space Center employees get back into their homes, to assist the schools in the affected areas and to provide for the greater good in the local community. The Fleet Survey Team quickly surveyed areas of the Gulf Intra-Coastal Waterway, Mississippi River Gulf Outflow Canal, Violet Canal, Pearl River, sections of the Mississippi River, NASA's Michoud Port Facility, and the Trunkline Liquid Natural Gas Terminal; and
WHEREAS, despite the criticality of dealing with Hurricane Katrina devastation, NAVOCEANO continued operational support to ongoing operational overseas efforts, including the Global War on Terror, through the Special Operations Command, Tampa, Florida; the Mission Support Center, San Diego, California; and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, St. Louis, Missouri; and the Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness Effectiveness Measurements Program Exercise (SHAREM 151). With a fleet of seven state-of-the-art oceanographic survey (T-AGS) ships, the Fleet Survey Team expeditionary units, and the Compact Hydrographic Airborne Rapid Total System aircraft operating worldwide, NAVOCEANO continued to provide them product and personnel manning support through the Survey Operations Center; and
WHEREAS, NAVOCEANO's Warfighting Support Center established a "makeshift" production watch, which coordinated with U.S. Special Operations Command and the National Reconnaissance Office for the production of 13 analyzed imagery products of the devastated Gulf Coast region and adjacent littoral waters. Critical to the safety of navigation for arriving JOINT TASK FORCE KATRINA naval ships rendering humanitarian assistance aid, they developed direct oceanographic analyses of tide and current products and the over 40 analyzed imagery products, that assisted Marines, both by sea and land, Coast Guard, National Guard, and other local Civil Defense rescue teams with their immense Search and Rescue and Recovery phases of operations; and
WHEREAS, Navy veterans at Stennis Space Center say this is the first such program they've seen where the service provides for civilians as well as Navy personnel; and
WHEREAS, in addition to Naval relief efforts at Stennis, the Seabees were first responders on the Gulf Coast. Commander Dave Sasek '87, U.S. Navy, took command of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion SEVEN (NMCB-7) in late July, about a month before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Because of their location, the battalion was among the first responders after the hurricane hit. The initial response efforts, which began as soon as the all-clear was sounded, included clearing base roads, restoring the security fences and re-establishing the base security perimeter. As the response effort matured, they worked in the Port of Gulfport in support of Coast Guard watercraft efforts, cleared roadways and worked in local schools. "All told, NMCB-7 assessed over 1,500 miles of roads and cleared over 525 miles of roads," reported Sasek. "We removed nearly 6,000 tons of debris and provided volunteers to man food/water distribution points, providing for an average of about 500 to 600 families per day"; and
WHEREAS, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni and U.S. Navy personnel in South Mississippi found themselves in the crosshairs when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. In the post-hurricane weeks to come, those individuals took on leadership roles as communities around the John C. Stennis Space Center and the Mississippi Gulf Coast struggled to begin an arduous recovery; and
WHEREAS, Rear Admiral McGee's and Commander Sasek's inspired and enthusiastic leadership, as well as unfailing devotion to duty of the personnel of U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the Naval Oceanographic Office, the Fleet Survey Team and Seabees Battalion Seven significantly contributed to the ongoing recovery of the Mississippi Gulf Coast from devastation of Hurricane Katrina:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the officers, sailors and civilian personnel of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC), the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) and the Fleet Survey Team (FST), based at the Stennis Space Center, and Rear Admiral Timothy McGee (U.S. Navy), and the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion SEVEN (SEABEES) unit at Gulfport, Mississippi, and their Commander Dave Sasek, for their exemplary service, conduct and performance rendered prior to and subsequent to Hurricane Katrina's unprecedented destruction on and near the Mississippi Gulf Coast in August and September 2005, and we offer these military and civilian personnel our thanks for their assistance in providing relief operations during this critical time, as we endeavor to rebuild our state and restore its economy.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Admiral McGee and Commander Sasek, representing these Naval commands, and be forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy and members of Mississippi's congressional delegation and be made available to members of the Capitol Press Corps.