The State Of The Base - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

The State Of The Base

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Posted: Monday, February 26, 2018 4:22 pm

As we head into 2018, I want to take a moment to update the community on a few items of interest and provide a wrap-up for 2017. As always, Naval Base Coronado (NBC) remains committed to being a good neighbor. We will do this while executing the Navy’s mission and maintaining the health and welfare of our 35,000 Sailors and employees throughout NBC’s eight installations. With 64 thousand acres of property and 142 tenant commands, my responsibilities include supporting and training America’s heroes as they perform their assigned missions.

2017 was a busy year for Naval Base Coronado. We hosted a year-long celebration of Naval Air Station North Island’s (NASNI) “Century of Service” with 99 events leading up to the Centennial Celebration. Veterans and their families enjoyed a free concert with military equipment and static displays on Veteran’s Day. It was a wonderful event with about 6000 people enjoying the headliner - Easton Corbin!

The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), was commissioned in a ceremony at NASNI July 29. The ship is named in honor of Navy Cross recipient Marine Corp Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a San Diego native. During the second battle of Fallujah, he covered a grenade with his body, absorbing the majority of the blast. He was killed instantly, but saved the lives of his fellow Marines. The Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller gave the principal address to a crowd of hundreds.

Andrew Mills Hall, the new barracks at NASNI, was dedicated Aug. 10. The barracks is named for 102-year-old Chief Steward Andrew Mills, who was a steward for the captain of the aircraft carrier Yorktown in 1942. During the Battle of Midway, Mills is credited with saving the ship’s payroll when others failed as the carrier was on the verge of sinking. He later became one of the Navy’s first African-American chief petty officers.

As part of the Centennial Celebrations, we held the inaugural “Run the Runway 5K”. Nearly 500 runners from age three and up had the unique opportunity to run on NASNI’s runway.

Our next big community event is the 32nd Annual Bay Bridge Run scheduled for May 20, 2018. Early bird registration is still available for anyone who would like to participate in this “bucket list” event. (www.navybaybridgerun.com)

Following the storms this winter, you may have noticed an increase in beached boats and their debris on our shores. Many of these vessels appear to have been abandoned by their owners at Zuniga Shoal anchorage. Identification of the registered owners to coordinate removal has proven extremely difficult, and swift removal is constrained by federal law. The vessels that wash ashore create an imminent hazard to health of recreational beach patrons, threaten protected environmental species and their beach habitats, and impact military training and mission readiness. I remain committed to working with relevant stakeholders to find a solution to the anchoring of abandoned and derelict vessels at Zuniga Point.

Construction of our Coastal Campus training facility on the Silver Strand Training Complex South is nearing 50 percent completion. The Navy has awarded over $370 million in contracts with 15 more military construction projects planned through 2024. We have discussed the main entrance construction for this facility with CALTRANS and the City of Coronado. Our goal is to queue as many vehicles as possible on installation property while staying true to the aesthetics of a scenic highway.

The Navy is proposing to provide facilities and support for the replacement of the aging C-2A Greyhound aircraft. The C-2A, commissioned in the 1960s, has reached the end of its service life and must be replaced. The Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) summarizes the environmental effects of the proposed action, which includes replacing 27 legacy C-2A aircraft with 38 Navy V-22 Osprey aircraft operated by the fleet logistics support multi-mission squadrons.

Based upon the analysis in the EA, the introduction of the Navy V-22 is expected to have only minor impacts on the environment and local community. On Wed. Feb. 7, 2018, we co-hosted a public meeting with the City of Coronado, using an open house format with informational displays and materials available for public review. Navy staff were present to answer general questions on the proposed transition and the Draft EA.

If you are on social media, I encourage you follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We use it to communicate everything from construction notices, training advisories and gate hours to special events and movie screenings. If you want to be the first to know what is happening at NBC, it’s the best place to get information first-hand.

There are times when you may notice other issues and I encourage you use our “Community Concerns” web page and hotline to communicate with NBC: http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrsw/installations/navbase_coronado/about/CommunityConcerns.html or 619-545-8847.

NBC has enjoyed a long history of cooperation with the surrounding communities and is proud to be part of the Imperial Beach and Coronado families. These relationships are important to us because we are part of the communities we serve. We are committed to being a positive presence within our community. This is our home. Our children go to school together. We frequent the same local businesses. We are proud to live here, deploy from here, and make you our friends. Thank you for your continued support to this base as we support and train America’s heroes.

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