Mississippi Power Apprentice Electrician Mike Brophy was a junior in high school when New York’s twin towers were attacked on 9/11.
That event led him to enlist in the United States Navy the summer before his senior year. He shipped out for boot camp after graduation, served as a Seabee for 10 years and now is a petty officer first class in the Naval Reserves.
It was only four weeks ago that Brophy returned to work at Plant Daniel, following his third deployment to Afghanistan.
“Seabees support the joint forces and build and maintain everything from air fields, to galleys and bathrooms,” said Brophy
“I’ve been to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Japan, Jordan, Spain, Cuba and to Sao Tome an island off the coast of Africa. My two favorite assignments were to Afghanistan and Sao Tome. It was the people I worked with that made those so good.”
Part of his command’s mission is to escort troops to and from base, checking for improvised explosive devices, IEDs. If one was discovered Brophy’s unit called in the explosives expert and cordoned off the area until it was cleared and safe.
While in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Brophy and others would hike the mountains outside of Camp Gecko.
“Mullah Omar, the one-time supreme commander and spiritual leader of the Taliban had a compound that was taken and turned in a base known as FOB Gecko, forward operating base,” said Brophy. “The perimeter was a giant firearms range and they would occasionally shut the range down to allow us to hike the mountain range normally used as the barrier for firing ranges.”
His original plan to retire from active duty got short-circuited when he was caught in a draw-down while the U.S. military was reducing its numbers and was sent home from assignment and transitioned to the Navy Reserves.
“Things I learned in the Navy–commitment, thoroughness, attention to detail and the value of quality work–prepared me for my job with Mississippi Power
“I would advise anyone who goes into the military to have a plan for what they will do when they get out. Try to get a job that will carry over into the civilian work force.
“I’ve been deployed so many times now that I’ve learned how to go from working at the plant, to my reserve assignment, and back to the plant pretty smoothly,” Brophy concluded.
And, like so many other active duty and reserve military, he leaves a family behind at home when on assignment.
Brophy expects it will be 18-24 months before he is deployed again.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeast Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports in all categories in which it participates – fossil/hydro generation, transmission and distribution, corporate and support, and total company – and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. With nearly 105 megawatts of approved solar energy capacity, Mississippi Power is the largest partner in providing renewable energy in the state of Mississippi. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.