CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA —
The Coast Guard established a new unit, Base Charleston, in October 2015 to consolidate and enhance the delivery of modernized, quality mission support services to Coast Guard personnel and units in the Southeastern United States. I had the distinct honor of serving as the inaugural Commanding Officer and, upon the eve of my Change of Command on June 22nd, there is cause to reflect on the past (nearly) three years and how far we have come.
This very day that I write this, in fact, Base Charleston is being presented a Meritorious Unit Commendation which indicates Base Charleston “…distinguished itself by either valorous or meritorious achievement or service in support of Coast Guard operations.” Specifically, all 178 personnel worked tirelessly to implement the four pillars of the Coast Guard mission support business model -- configuration management, bi-level support, total asset visibility, and product/service-line management -- within the provision of mission support services in northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. This included contingency response for three significant weather events -- 2015 historic flood, Hurricane Matthew, and Hurricane Irma -- ensuring pay and entitlement processing for 2,800 service members, executing 18,000 hours of engineering maintenance, and upgrading over 879 computer workstations to Windows 10 operating systems, amongst many other accomplishments. This was all done while establishing the business operations of a brand new military unit.
The success of Base Charleston was also contingent on the exemplary partnership and support of the federal agencies in the Charleston area, and specifically Joint Base Charleston. The 850 Coast Guard men and woman and their families in Charleston relied on JB Charleston for wrap-around family support coverage that was simply not feasible for the Coast Guard to provide locally. This included health and dental services, housing, commissary/exchange, child care, family support services, and so many other things. JB Charleston also provides other logistical support vital to operations, such as transport, docking, and weapons on-load. Coast Guard vessels utilized Wharf Alpha on a number of occasions to weather storms and to on-load ammunition. The Coast Guard also utilized the JB Charleston air strip in order to facilitate the transport of seven tons of cocaine following a record-breaking narcotics seizure by the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton.
Coast Guard operations would often not be feasible without JB Charleston’s support.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! While the Coast Guard is the smallest armed service, our Commandant likes to say we punch above our weight class. We were able to do that through the partnerships and support provided by JB Charleston and the many other partnering Federal Executive Agencies in the area. JB Charleston’s support during my tenure has allowed Charleston area Coast Guard units and their personnel to be the best they can be, specifically making Base Charleston as the self-proclaimed “Best Base in the Coast Guard!”