By Lt. J.G. Dan Oftelie
CPRW-11 Public Affairs Officer
July 28 marked a historic day for both the TacMobile and Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force communities - as Building 514 - the newest facility in the P-8A family of systems was declared open for business by Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad.
Located on the corner of Yorktown Avenue and Gillis Street, Building 514 is the new home for both Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11's Tactical Operations Center (TOC), as well as VUP-19, the Navy's first MQ-4C Triton squadron that is an essential step forward in the relationship between the Triton and P-8A Poseidon programs.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was presided over by Cozad and is the second building on Naval Air Station Jacksonville he has dedicated (The other being Hanger 511 that he dedicated while serving as CPRW-11 Commodore in 2009).
In his speech, Cozad recognized the many people who have made the opening of the building a success. He also praised TacMobile for their integral role in the MPRF community and had this to say with regards to the support they deliver.
"Back when I was a junior officer, this base did not look like it does today. Since Hangar 511 we, the Navy and the DoD, have pumped almost $270 million into our mission and that is a testament to what each and every one of you do. And it's a testament to the value our community brings. As I get out and talk to people inside and outside our community, I always start with TacMobile because we cannot do our mission without the backbone that TacMobile provides."
Planning for the new $10.3 million building took five years with about another year and a half to complete construction. TacMobile completed their outfitting in July of this year and VUP-19 is scheduled to complete theirs by summer 2017.
Getting the new building up and running has not been the easiest task, because operational requirements necessitate a specific level of security - and since TacMobile will be sharing the new facility with the Triton program, many decisions need to take both organizations' requirements into account.
In addition to security constraints, TacMobile has had to take into consideration the need for the Triton program to move in and set up their own hardware.
Despite the hurdles of outfitting new facilities from scratch the results speak for themselves. Compared to the old spaces in Building 506, the watch floor, briefing rooms and data processing spaces have all doubled in size. Additionally, since its inception, the new facility was designed specifically to support the P-8A aircraft and its mission, along with room to grow as the aircraft continues to develop new capabilities. All of these benefits give TacMobile the edge they need to better support the squadrons operating out of Jacksonville and around the world.