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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2018

Thank you for a strong 2017

By U.S. Air Force Col. Jeff Nelson, commander 628th Air Base Wing

It is customary, as each year comes to a close, to reflect on the challenges faced and the successes achieved throughout the year. Before I could share my thoughts about 2017 with you, however, Winter Storm Grayson provided Joint Base Charleston our first challenge of 2018. As always, the entire JB Charleston team responded positively, allowing us to survive the historic snow storm and return to normal operations.

In spite of the unexpectedly hectic start to 2018, I want to pause and take the time to thank the over 20,000 personnel who work on JB Charleston making this base such a special place. This time of year is exciting as annual awards ceremonies occur recognizing the outstanding performers in our units and the results of headquarters-level functional awards begin to roll in. Listing all of the individual and group awards would take up more room that allocated for this commentary, but I would like highlight a few that show our achievements as a base. JB Charleston was named Air Mobility Command’s nominee to the Air Force for the Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award, the 628th Air Base Wing received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and the 437th Airlift Wing received the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award. These awards were made possible because of the tireless efforts and dedication of the entire JB Charleston team.

Throughout 2017, JB Charleston supported daily mission-essential operations, visits from elected officials, senior officers, celebrities, authors, sports figures and foreign dignitaries. Our training and partnerships allowed us to diligently execute our missions both locally and globally through our work in exercises such as: Patriot Sands, JADE HELM, Mobility Guardian, the Large Formation Exercise which incorporated 24 C-17 aircraft, and the 628th Medical Group aiding USCG Sector Charleston during their historic exercise.

Along with our busy training schedule, Mother Nature had plans to test our readiness and resolve as well. As a team we responded to Hurricanes Irma and Maria ensuring not only the safety and functionality of the base, but also reaching out to those more drastically affected by the storms in other parts of the country and the world via airlift and sealift.

In all cases, the JB Charleston team acted decisively with professionalism and compassion and I am proud of and grateful for each of you.

I also want to take the time to acknowledge and thank all those who unselfishly gave of themselves to support the men and women at JB Charleston as they worked to meet its various missions throughout 2017 – without our family members, friends and the Lowcountry community, we couldn’t do the vital job of protecting this nation.  

I am certain the challenges, planned and unplanned, will continue as we move further into 2018. With  several exercises scheduled to test our installation’s readiness and warfighting capabilities, to the  unique events such as the commissioning of the USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and the exciting Air and Space Expo in the months ahead -- I feel confident this year holds a great deal of opportunity and challenges we will tackle together. Again, I thank you for your hard work and dedication in 2017 and ask you to continue your strong performance in 2018.