by Ryan Labadens, US Navy Public Affairs

The phrase “It’s good to be in Gulfport” is more than just a saying for some people – it’s a reason for staying in the Gulf Coast city, and a reason for working onboard the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) in Gulfport, Mississippi. Cena Wright, a security assistant with the Pass and ID section of the NCBC security department and a transplant from Jacksonville, Florida, made Gulfport her home in 2007 after separating from the Navy a year before. She had served as a religious programs specialist in the Navy at various duty stations since 1999 and decided to move to Gulfport when her best friend got assigned to the Seabee base in Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74. Wright has been living in the area and working at the Seabee base ever since.

She initially started working in housing before securing a contractor position with the security department. Then she worked as a guard for three years before transferring to patrol, and then finally got hired for her current position as a security assistant in September 2019.

As a security assistant in Pass and ID, it’s Wright’s job to perform background checks on new hires, prospective residents and contractors looking to live and/or work onboard NCBC to make sure they are actually allowed to access the base.

“I like trying to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Wright. “We tell people that sometimes the background checks can take up to three to five days, but depending on the person sometimes the checks can be done by the next day, and when we get back in touch with them to let them know their access was approved they’re like ‘Really? Wow, that was fast!” she continued.

Wright noted that the people she met both in the local community and while working at NCBC were a

big factor in her choosing to stay in Gulfport – and it’s that same sense of community she felt that

Wright wants to spread to people who want to both work and/or live on the Seabee base and the Gulfport area.

“When I first got here I thought I was just going to be here maybe two years two years since I came here from a big city,” said Wright. “But between my church family and the people I met while working in security at NCBC, it was a good fit because everyone was nice and respectful, and that just made it pleasant to be here.”