MERIDIAN, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — Elected officials and community leaders gathered at Naval Air Station Meridian on Monday as the Navy base hosted a State of the Base breakfast.

The breakfast, which included officials from Meridian, Lauderdale County, Kemper County and more, gave civilian leaders a chance to hear what NAS Meridian had accomplished in the previous year.

NAS Meridian Commanding Officer Capt. Timothy Brent Moore said he is proud of the partnerships the base has with the surrounding communities, and the milestones that have been achieved are a testament to those relationships.

“Our ability today to train our Navy and Marine Corps officers and enlist personnel stands on the shoulders of the military and community partners that have worked together for over 60 years,” he said.

Each year, Moore said, NAS Meridian trains more than 3,000 enlisted men and women through the Naval Technical Training Center, as well as an average of 150 naval aviators and 18 international students.

Through the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy, which was established in 1992, NAS Meridian provides counter-drug training to more than 10,000 law enforcement officers annually, Moore said.

While both civilian and naval personnel are trained onboard NAS Meridian’s 8,000 acre footprint, the base also boasts dozens of skilled workers who provide the security and amenities those students enjoy. Moore acknowledged the men and women who make sure the base has clean drinking water, guard the front gate and maintain the miles of tarmac throughout the base.

Looking to the future, Moore said a $3 million wildlife fence, which is a joint project between the base and Lauderdale County, would help improve safety for both navy personnel and local wildlife. The project, he said, has been in the works for more than five years and is finally underway.

NAS Meridian has similar partnerships with other organizations in the surrounding communities, Moore said, including the City of Meridian, Kemper County, The Montgomery Institute and more.

Monday’s breakfast also served to mark the 60th anniversary of the base, which was founded in 1961. The celebration was postponed due to COVID-19.

Since its beginning, Moore said NAS Meridian has been blessed to be surrounded by communities that welcome the men and women who live, train and work at NAS Meridian and the partnerships that make the base’s continued success possible.

“We believe the successes achieved would not be possible without the support, coordination and cooperation of our surrounding communities,” he said.

“Thank you all for the great support of our military and their families that you continue to provide. We’re very grateful for how military friendly you are.”

(c)2023 The Meridian Star (Meridian, Miss.)

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(NAS Meridian/Facebook)

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