Since almost the beginning of its history just over 75 years ago, Naval Station Mayport has chronicled its Sailors and families and their achievements with a base newspaper. The newspaper covered everyday life on board the ships that called Mayport home, the squadrons that inhabited its air and the Sailors, families and civilians who made the base operate.
On Jan. 1, 2000, a new editor would walk through the doors of Naval Station Mayport’s public affairs office. The wife of a USS John F. Kennedy Sailor, Paige Gnann was 9 months pregnant with her second child, and already a seasoned military reporter. With her husband stationed on the base, her children attending the base’s Child Development Center, it was an easy transition from her job as a civilian reporter to Naval Station Mayport and The Mirror. So easy, in fact, that she stayed for 19 years, becoming the defacto base historian as well as base editor.
Throughout her tenure at The Mirror, she has attended hundreds of change of commands and ship homecomings, met United States presidents and their wives, vice presidents, secretaries of state on down to CNOs, MCPONS and celebrities. She attended Sports Challenges and base festivals, set sail on family day cruises. She even made it up in the air twice, once for a front row view on the Blue Angels, Fat Albert airplane and the second on board a Goodyear Blimp.
She spent one birthday drinking cappuccino on an Italian submarine, and the next on a Danish ship. She’s watched ships be brought to life and photographed the decommissioning of a fleet of frigates and her husband’s old ship, USS John F. Kennedy.
In all of that time, she has only missed one publication of The Mirror on September 11, 2001, when the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon. They wouldn’t let her and hundreds of other contractors on the base that week while the government worked to make sure the threat was contained.
This publication will be her last. It is our deepest regret to inform our readers that this is the last issue of The Mirror that will be published.
Many will miss the curiosity, enthusiasm and drive that she brought through the gates each day and I will miss the friend, the journalist and the wealth of base knowledge that will soon walk out the door. It’s not an easy loss to take.
Fair winds and following seas, Paige. We promise to keep the spotlight on the men and woman who are making this base tick, just as you have for the past incredible 19 years. We were lucky to have you on this team, and you are missed already.