NS Mayport, Kings Bay Naval Base participate in 2-week security drill

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Naval Station Mayport along with NAS JAX and Kings Bay are all taking part in a two-week security drill known as the Solid Curtain Citadel Shield.

The exercise trains navy security forces on potential threats to the bases.

It is an anti-terrorism exercise conducted at all naval bases across the country.

While this intense training is happening out in the open, behind the scenes men and women are working hard to make sure families get the resources they need after a disaster.

“So anybody walking into this door, and they want to see a counselor. They are grieving of they are stressed or anything like that. They can come here. It’s free of charge for our military,” said Elinor Cantrell, a mental health counselor with the Fleet and Family Support Center.

Cantrell said when there’s a major incident military bases will set up an Emergency Family Assistance Center or EFAC.

It can help with everything from financial assistance to childcare, to grieving after a major event.

“In a crisis like a hurricane coming in here, it is crisis intervention. It is talking how can I get you stable enough out at my office and back to what you need to do,” Cantrell said.

Whether it’s a natural disaster, active shooter situation or any emergency Naval Station Mayport is showing us how it’s able to support military families no matter what the crisis is.

Cantrell remembers when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana in 2005 and the catastrophic events that followed.

“I was here at Mayport, and I volunteered to go out and assist with the EFAC there,” she said.

She said having access to mental health resources has been critical especially during the pandemic.

“To be able to go to a mental health provider and sit and just share your deepest secrets with somebody. That’s so important,” Cantrell said.