An Inside Look into NSA-PC Pt. 3: Economic Boost

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PANAMA CITY-- Naval Support Activity Panama City is home to both the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division and the Navy Experimental Diving Unit.

The base also has a huge econimic impact on our community.

Most people don't know just how much of a boost the base is for our local economy.

Last year, NSA-PC and the missions they host, like the Warfare Center and the dive school had a $500 million annual budget.

"A lot of people are surprised to learn the amount of things that we do here on base. They kind of see us as a very small installation, not quite sure what it is that we do but when they hear the impact that we have on the economy and also the contributions that we make to national defense, they are pretty surprised," Christopher Serow, C.O. NSA-PC, said.

Serow said the Navy base in Panama City is unique for two big reasons. The first is it houses the only dive school in the country. The second is its focus on mine warfare, both offensive and defensive.

"We develop the basic science and technology that supports all those different missionaries and then we do the research and development on how to turn that into a system," Captian Phillip E. Dawson, C.O. Warfare Center, said.

"Something we specialize in here that really no other base that specialize in that specific aspect of the mission."

And its not just military personnel contributing to their mission 1,400 civilians and nearly a thousand contractors support the 50 military members who work at the base.

"Essentially you can think of us as the city or the municipality where the commands are the businesses, so we provide a lot of services to them such as fire emergency services, right behind me here. We got police, security, lodging, food, family services."

While mom and dad work with real artillery, these kids are just as happy playing with water guns.

The child and youth program at the base sees about 300 registered kids each year. This summer, they have 100.

"We're constantly keeping the kids engaged and busy while they're here, and we make sure that they're fun and safe," Heather Steinzor, NSA Child and Youth Program, said.

Despite all the programs and missions they could tout as their greatest pride, commanding officers at the base all say the most important source of pride is the support they receive.

"The biggest thing that impresses me is the level of commitment that we have from the people that work here on base. Honestly it's the best I've ever encountered in my almost 19 year career in the Navy."

The NSA-PC was founded here in Bay County on July 20, 1945, as the U.S. Navy mine countermeasures station.

That means the base will be celebrating its 70 year anniversary here next year.