About the Southern District of Mississippi
SDMS includes numerous military bases and installations. Army infrastructure includes Army National Guard aviation facilities in Jackson and Meridian with a national helicopter repair facility in Gulfport, as well as Camp Shelby Training Site (the Nation’s 2nd largest Guard & Reserve training facility). There are numerous other Guard and Reserve facilities throughout the District including the State National Guard Joint Force Headquarters. Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has five major facilities in Vicksburg: the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division Headquarters, the Vicksburg District Headquarters, the Mississippi River Commission Headquarters and the Engineering, Research and Design Center (ERDC) which oversees six Corps labs nationwide.
Key Navy infrastructure includes the Meridian Naval Air Station which also hosts the regional counter-drug training academy. Both the Navy Seals Riverine Unit and the Naval Oceanographic Lab are located at the Stennis Space Center. The Oceanographic Lab is the Navy’s premier weather predicting and weather facility command and control center. On the Gulf Coast, the Navy’s Superintendent of Shipbuilding and Repair at Northrup-Grumman Shipbuilding Systems in Pascagoula supervises 1 of only 6 major shipyards building Navy vessels. Other installations include the Naval Construction Battalion Base in Gulfport (1 of only 2 CB Bases in the Nation), Coast Guard Station Pascagoula (on the site of the former Naval Station Pascagoula and home port to 1 USCG cutter), and the U.S. Naval Home (1 of the Nation’s 2 remaining federally operated military retirement facilities and presently in a state of transition for reconstruction in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina). Finally, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has a major laboratory in Ocean Springs which is home to two NMFS research vessels.
Moreover, Air Force infrastructure includes Air National Guard bases in Jackson and Meridian, as well as an Air National Guard national training site in Gulfport. Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi is a major computer and electronics training base which also has the 2nd largest USAF medical center. The Veterans Administration has its Regional Headquarters in Jackson, and three major medical centers in the District are located in Jackson, Gulfport and Biloxi. The District also has eleven federally funded Community Medical Centers which receive legal representation from the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO).
The National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) has its rocket testing facility at the Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis. This NASA facility also has become the Nation’s premier center for satellite remote sensing capability. The Center (which has a 25-mile diameter buffer zone) has grown to become a virtual “federal city” hosting several smaller agency offices.
Among many key industrial infrastructure sites are the Ergon oil refinery in Vicksburg, the Port Gibson Nuclear Power Plant, the Nation’s largest oil pipeline network hub in Collins, and the Chevron oil refinery in Pascagoula (the Nation’s sixth largest refinery). Major computer and communications infrastructure includes a key Worldcom facility (its former corporate headquarters) in Clinton, corporate headquarters for Skytel, Inc. in Jackson and a major super-computing center at Jackson State University (JSU). The JSU facility, together with the Corps of Engineers ERDC in Vicksburg, the Stennis Space Center, and two facilities in the Northern District of Mississippi (NDMS) combine to make Mississippi one of the Nation’s top five super-computing capacity states.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has its primary presence on the Choctaw Indian Reservation in Neshoba County within SDMS. The Choctaws also have numerous other lands throughout the District. The Natchez Trace Parkway runs through the middle of the District, while the Natchez Historic Park, the Vicksburg National Military Park and the Gulf Islands National Seashore are Park Service facilities located in SDMS. Further, the Fish and Wildlife Service operates the St. Catherine’s Creek Wildlife Refuge and the Sandhill Crane Wildlife Refuge, while the National Forest Service operates the Bienville National Forest, the Delta National Forest, the DeSoto National Forest, the Homochitto National Forest, and the Black Creek Wild and Scenic Waterway.
Finally, the Bureau of Prisons operates a Federal Correctional Facility in Yazoo City, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operates the Blue Lightening Strike Force and Blue Lightening Operations Center in Gulfport. There are two High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) centers in Jackson and Gulfport, with two Weed and Seed sites operating in Jackson and the Biloxi/D’Iberville area