Millington celebrates 10 year anniversary

MILLINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - All weekend, residents in Millington will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Navy Personnel Command.

Friday, hundreds of sailors and dignitaries were on hand to kick off the festivities.

Ten years ago, fighter pilots dropped into Millington's Navy Base to learn to fly. But the mission changed with the 1998 Base Re-Alignment and Closure Commission.

Now, there is no flying - just personnel matters.

With ten years under the belt, local officials Friday said the move turned out positive.

"Shelby County and Tennessee and the Mid-South gained great new neighbors and increased prosperity," Senator Lamar Alexander said.

The Navy estimates 6,000 personnel serve in Millington. With an economic impact of $300 million, the Millington Airport Authority says 40 percent of its business is Navy aircraft.

"We can accommodate most any aircraft operating in the free world and any aircraft operating in the U.S. Navy's fleet. And we do accommodate much of that traffic," Tracy Williams of the Millington Airport Authority said.

But, change is still afoot. While the number of Navy in town did not change drastically, what they do did.

Personnel headquarters does not need as much space. The Navy is still in the process of knocking down 200 buildings and eliminating 2.5 million square feet.

Navy officials said it is subtraction by addition.

"Now we have continuity.  We have people actually living here, stationed here. And again we have those returnees that come back and want to retire in this community," Master Chief Daryl Charles of the U.S. Navy said.

The anniversary celebration goes on through the weekend. An all day picnic will begin Saturday morning at 9:00am at Navy Lake.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney.