Welcome to Joint Base Charleston
The Joint Base (JB) Charleston community encompasses approximately 23,000 active-duty, Reserve and civilian personnel across its Air Base and Weapons Station. Joint basing has been the stepping-stone to make Charleston a joint logistics, transportation and engineering hub and the worldwide leader in moving people, vehicles, munitions and supplies via air, land, sea and rail.
With more than 60 joint base mission partners, Team Charleston comprises Air Force, Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Homeland Security and other DOD missions — all working together in the global fight against terrorism and for the spread of world peace.
The air base is about 10 miles from downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on approximately 3,500 acres of land within the North Charleston city limits in Charleston County in the heart of what is known locally as the Lowcountry, that portion of historic South Carolina where pine and oak forests meet the natural beauty of the Intracoastal Waterway marshes and gorgeous barrier island beaches.
The host unit of JB Charleston is the 628th Air Base Wing. The wing has two groups consisting of 13 squadrons and one wing staff directorate. The wing’s primary duties are to provide base support for approximately 90,000 personnel, including active-duty and Reserve military members, civilian government employees and contractors, military family members and retirees.
The Air Base also hosts the 437th Airlift Wing, 315th Airlift Wing (Air Force Reserve) and more than 60 joint base mission partners.
On the Weapons Station there are approximately 19,400 military, civilian and contract employees. The Weapons Station is also home to more than 3,800 enlisted nuclear power students living in dormitories, and an additional 977 military families who occupy privatized on-base housing. Missions on the Weapons Station range from Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston, a medium security brig, to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Training Command and Nuclear Power Training Unit. The Weapons Station also houses the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, which provides engineering excellence to the warfighter.
The Weapons Station houses several major training centers and serves as an ordnance station, with 269 bunkers and capacity for more than 60 million pounds of conventional ordnance. It encompasses more than 17,000 acres of land, with 10,000 acres of forest and wetlands, 22 miles of waterfront, four deep-water piers, 38 miles of railroad and 292 miles of road. It has an integrated railhead, surge mobilization capability and the only unencumbered explosive arcs in the continental U.S.
Also located on the Weapons Station are state-of-the-art facilities such as the $27 million Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center and the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. There are more than 1,600 buildings on the installation, which enclose more than 42 million square feet and have a replacement value of $2.5 billion.
The Weapons Station is also home to the 841st Army Transportation Battalion and the Army Field Support Battalion Afloat, which coordinate the distribution of warfighting equipment from the busiest port in the Army. Approximately 35 percent of all Army combat equipment in the Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom theaters was loaded through the Weapons Station.
With a mild climate, rich military history and moderate cost of living, the lowcountry also attracts many military retirees. The greater metropolitan region has a population of 690,000. JB Charleston enjoys a great relationship with the civilian community and members actively participate in many civic, social and cultural events. The area is a wonderful place to work and live with excellent recreational activities on base and endless opportunities for leisure.
Again, welcome to Joint Base Charleston.
South Carolina Climate and Weather
South Carolina’s climate tends to be humid and subtropical. Summers are hot and winters are usually mild. Average temperatures range from 68 degrees on the coast to 58 degrees in the northwest. Summer temperatures in central South Carolina can easily exceed 90 degrees, while coastal regions may be slightly cooler.
The tropical climate brings plenty of rainfall, although the coastline tends to have a wetter summer than inland areas. On average, 40 to 80 inches of rain fall throughout the state each year. During summer and fall, expect thunderstorms and high humidity. South Carolina has approximately 64 days of thunderstorms annually and can also be vulnerable to tornadoes.
In winter, snowfall on the coast is very uncommon, but the interior and mountains of South Carolina may receive as much as 6 inches in a given year. Freezing rain, however, is a common occurrence statewide.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak period from early August through the end of October. Hurricanes can produce winds in excess of 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes, microbursts, heavy rainfall, floods, flash floods, storm surge, landslides and/or mudslides.
The possibility of hurricanes is part of life in the Southern coastal states, and South Carolina is no exception. Foresight and preparedness are the keys to managing hurricane season. Personnel should understand the difference between hurricane conditions and hurricane categories. Hurricane conditions are a countdown in which military installations execute emergency preparedness items to prepare for the landfall of a hurricane.
Hurricane categories are ratings issued to hurricanes by use of the Saffir-Simpson scale. These ratings are based off the numbers 1-5. This scale estimates potential property damage along with the accumulated sustained wind speed associated with the hurricanes themselves.
During a hurricane watch, winds of 74 miles per hour or higher associated with the hurricane are possible within the specified area within 48 hours. Stay tuned to local media and weather alert channels.
A hurricane warning is issued when winds of 74 miles per hour or higher associated with a hurricane are expected within the specified area within 36 hours.
Since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms and heavy rains. Flood insurance is only available through the National Flood Insurance Program. To take your risk profile and find out more, go to www.floodsmart.gov.
Make a Plan
Families should have evacuation and communication plans for natural disasters. Templates and tips can be found at www.ready.gov.
- Know your zone. It’s important that you know your evacuation zone – the zones are the areas in which county emergency managers would work with the governor to issue an evacuation. It is recommended that you visit scemd.org/knowyourzoneif you do not already know which evacuation zone you currently live in.
- Know where to get your orders. Evacuations for the local area are ordered by the governor. Joint Base Charleston military members will follow the evacuation orders given by the installation. It is important to stay in touch with your chain of command for clear direction.
- Know your evacuation route. For major hurricanes, the governor may direct Interstate 26 lane reversal to expedite evacuation. I-26 lane reversal plans are at www.scdot.org. It’s important that you know your evacuation route with and without I-26 lane reversal. If you are advised to evacuate your home, follow the instructions of government agencies and use advised travel routes. Leave as early as possible to avoid traffic, flooding roads or fallen trees. Make sure your vehicle has a South Carolina map or GPS in it, and bring your emergency supply kit with you in your car. Listen to the radio for traffic information: 96.9 FM, 103.5 FM, 89.3 FM.
- Know who to call. If a hurricane evacuation is ordered update you respective services accountability system via AFPAAS, NFAAS, ADPAAS or CGPASS with your evacuation location. You should also gather your family, pets and disaster kit and leave no earlier than directed by your commander. Main routes may be congested, so become familiar with secondary backup routes.
Build a Kit
All families should have an emergency supply kit for their home and their vehicle. Kits should be assembled well in advance of an emergency; you may have to evacuate in a moment’s notice and probably will not have time to search for or buy the supplies you need. A full checklist of what should be in your kit is available at www.ready.gov and kits are available for purchase at www.redcrossstore.org.
After It’s Over
When you return to your home following a hurricane, follow these safety precautions:
- Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them at once.
- Watch out for snakes, insects and animals that might have sought refuge on higher ground.
- Open windows and doors to ventilate homes.
- Take pictures of the interior and exterior damage of homes for insurance claims.
- Drive only if necessary.
- Use telephones only for emergency calls.
- Check houses for gas leaks.
- Look for electrical system damage, as well as sewage and water line damage.
Alligators live in many of South Carolina’s coastal waters. They eat fish, turtles and occasionally larger animals such as raccoons or deer. They are protected under South Carolina law, and it is unlawful to feed them, including throwing fish parts into the water.
Alligators are predators and you should always use extreme caution around them. Do not approach alligators, even the smaller ones. They’re very fast. Keep pets on a leash and away from the water. Never allow children to throw toys or rocks into the water as the splashing may entice an alligator toward shore.
South Carolina Division of Emergency Management: www.scemd.org
South Carolina: Know Your Hurricane Evacuation Zone: www.scemd.org/component/content/article/11-home-page/news/155-know-your-zone
Pet Friendly Lodging: www.petswelcome.com
South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Evacuation Routes, Road Status & More: www.dot.state.sc.us
FEMA’s National Preparedness website for template emergency plans and guidance: www.ready.gov
NOAA – National Hurricane Center: www.nhc.noaa.gov