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No, Keesler Air Force Base did not tell airmen to avoid living in Mississippi town

Airmen are briefed as they arrive at the dormitory at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. July 10, 2013.

U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO

By ROBIN FITZGERALD | The Sun Herald | Published: September 14, 2018

BILOXI, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — Contrary to posts on social media, Keesler Air Force Base is not advising military personnel to be cautious about moving to Ocean Springs, Miss. because of a “recent increase in racist acts/events.”

The warning was shared on a community Facebook page Tuesday and attributed the source as an Army veteran who lives in Ocean Springs. A flyer reportedly was posted on base at the Sablich Center, which houses offices for services such as relocation assistance.

There are many resources to help military personnel and families look for housing, but that’s not the type of warning Keesler would give, said Capt. David J. Murphy, public affairs chief of the 81st Training Wing.

Any such flyer would not be authorized, he said.

“There has been no official policy provided to Keesler personnel about where to or where not to live within the Gulf Coast region,” Murphy said. “We highly encourage our members to reside where ever they would like and to be contributing members of their community. Furthermore, we value our partnerships and ties with all surrounding Gulf Coast communities.”

The person who posted the advisement on Facebook updated it Thursday morning, saying a flyer such as that

“would have been unofficial and posted without authorization.”

It’s unclear if the alleged warning was in reference to a person’s racial discrimination complaint involving housing in Ocean Springs or city leaders’ controversial decision to fly the state flag on all city buildings.

The flag has been a hot topic in Ocean Springs since Mayor Shea Dobson was elected.

Controversy arose again in April when white supremacist literature was distributed in the city overnight. Dobson called the people behind the literature “racist cowards.”

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©2018 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.)
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