JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA –
Team Charleston’s Storm Troopers, children who had parents on ride-out teams during Hurricane Matthew, were recognized during a Storm Troopers Ceremony at the Airman and Family Readiness Center here, Dec. 8.
Nearly 23,000 base employees and their families evacuated Charleston Oct. 5, leaving a ride-out team of about 400 members to continue the base’s mission.
Seventeen children received certificates during the ceremony for their resiliency and remaining calm, focused and ready during the storm. The children also watched a video highlighting the ride-out team members and pointed out their parents when they appeared on the screen.
“Without a doubt, our military children are some of the bravest in the world,” said Master Sgt. Robert Smith, Airman and Family Readiness Center NCO in charge. “When Colonel Lyman gave the order to evacuate, we saw the mission that remained. We wanted to say thanks to all the spouses and children who left their loved ones here to continue the mission.”
Because of the storm, many families evacuated to other parts of South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. The Emergency Family Assistance Center provided disaster relief contingency information and services for evacuated personnel and families when they returned.
Staff Sgt. Donald McKeown, 628th Air Base Wing command post controller, remained behind while his family evacuated to Greenville, South Carolina two days before the hurricane hit Charleston. McKeown evacuated after helping coordinate the evacuation of 28 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
“My daughters did a great job keeping calm throughout the hurricane,” said McKeown.
McKeown said his wife and children, three and seven-years old, had been through tropical storms before but never a major hurricane.
“A lot of times we celebrate parents for what they do but we don’t always get the chance to say thanks to their children,” said Col. Robert Lyman, Joint Base Charleston commander. “Tonight we recognized the children for being brave and helping their families during the evacuation while a parent stayed here. These kids are an important part of our team, they serve with us.