JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Joint Base Charleston, S.C. – You may have heard of the U.S. Naval Air Forces, but did you know there are naval Airmen? Joint Base Charleston’s working relationship with the U.S. Navy provides a unique opportunity for Airmen stationed here.
The 628th Security Forces Squadron here certifies Airmen and Sailors with Coxswain Tactical Craft Operations Training which teaches harbor patrol units how to safe-guard military assets at duty stations and deployed locations. For JB Charleston specifically, they protect the facilities along the Cooper River.
“The joint base atmosphere fosters an energy which breaks down barriers between branches allowing service members to operate as a cohesive unit regardless of the color of their uniform,” said Lt. Col. Robert Clouse, 628th SFS commander. “JB Charleston isn't just about Navy and Air Force, it also includes a large contingent of mission partners and civilians who work alongside us to make what we do possible.”
The training course includes waterway navigation techniques, hands on tactical watercraft maneuvers and communication strategies between patrol units.
“Working with Airmen provides a slight challenge when it comes to introducing them to naval terminology and lingo,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Wilkins, 628th SFS master-at-arms and lead instructor. “The Airmen in this class especially did a great job learning our language.”
Although many SF Airmen start out as entry controllers, there are a number of different avenues that an SF member’s career can go. Few of those Airmen get the opportunity to be attached to a harbor patrol unit.
“I think it is a unique experience working alongside sailors,” said Airman 1st Class Christian “PJ” Padgett-Johnson, 628th SFS patrolman. “Being granted this opportunity is a way for me to branch out.”
Since the inception of JB Charleston in 2011, Airmen and Sailors have found ways to integrate and perform duties traditionally held by either service. The 628th SFS being a prime example of such cooperation.
"We're very proud of our Airmen, Sailors and civilian employees as they have used experiences from multiple branches across several years of service, to make this joint base and the HPU a great success in a high operations tempo environment," said Capt. Brad Robinson, 628th SFS operations officer.