Naval Air Station Whiting Field is already known as the base where Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard students learn to fly helicopters, according to Public Information Officer Jay Cope. NAS Whiting Field is standing out again, this time for community service. The base in the running for the USS Bainbridge Award.
According to the press release, “NAS Whiting Field ranked first in four categories and second in Campaign Drug Free within the region to earn the nod to represent CNRSE (Commander Navy Region Southeast) for the USS Bainbridge award for overall excellence in community service. NAS Whiting Field will compete in the medium ashore category.”
Naval Air Station Whiting Field’s nomination package showcased the base’s 22,129 hours of volunteer service towards goals to inspire community youths in their professional development and life-skills, improving the quality of life for struggling families, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and emphasizing educational outreach in the good stewardship of environmental resources. Volunteer programs and events exemplifying the installation’s efforts throughout 2015 included: Men in Action (MIA), Earth Day, U. S. Naval Sea Cadets, Civil Air Patrol, 12 Months of Running, Bay Area Food Bank, and other community organizations and programs.
Whiting recently allowed MIA to hold its first community service banquet at Sikes Hall. MIA President Moe Smith said the organization benefits from Whiting Field’s six plus mentors who volunteer. “They have brought a different dynamic that they can teach the kids and expose them to that I can’t without a military background. Their biggest contribution is the professionalism, discipline, and expertise they bring to the table for the mentors and well as the mentees. The kids are attracted to those men in uniform. Just the excitement of having a military mentor or military affiliation (adds a) level of excitement to our organization.”
Captain Todd Bahlau said, “Santa RosaCounty and NAS Whiting Field have an amazing relationship that fosters tremendous goodwill between the residents and our military, civilian team at the installation. We truly want to be good neighbors within our community and my team here at Whiting Field displays that spirit every day.”