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Joint basing takes pivotal step with activation of 628 ABW
Col. Martha Meeker assumed command of the 628th Air Base Wing at Charleston AFB Jan. 8. As the 628 ABW commander, Colonel Meeker will direct host unit duties for the tenant units of Charleston AFB, and after Jan. 31 for Naval Weapons Station Charleston tenant units as well, as they are merged into Joint Base Charleston. Joint Base Charleston is one of 12 joint bases across the Department of Defense scheduled to stand up.
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Commander’s Comments

Posted 6/9/2010   Updated 6/9/2010 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Martha Meeker
Joint Base Charleston commander

6/9/2010 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- When I talk with military members and civic leaders, I often address the increased responsibilities we've placed on our Airmen throughout the last decade and how they've met the challenge in superb fashion. I also talk about the changing face of what our Airmen provide to the fight. While airlift, air refueling and aeromedical support will remain AMC's core competencies for the long term, today's AMC Airmen are going well beyond these roles to ensure unrivaled support to the war fight. To help make this point, let me share a few stories from this past month.

To start with, it's not standard practice to read an Airman was injured while rushing to her bunker, but I recently received one such report about Capt. Edyta Haggard, 628th Medical Group. Deployed as a U.S. liaison to a Polish hospital at a forward operating location in Afghanistan, Captain Haggard's location came under indirect fire. Running over rocky terrain, she injured her leg and was evacuated to Bagram. Fortunately, the injury was minor and she'll continue her advisor role as part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations.

Then there is 1st Lt. Branndon Teffeteller, a contracting officer deployed at Forward Operating Base Sharana in the Paktika Province. If you didn't know it, Air Force contracting officers and enlisted are some of the highest in demand across all the services for the skill set they bring to the theater. In this case, Lieutenant Teffeteller made history as he organized the first-ever vendor fair to teach local Afghans how to compete for contracts.

Finally, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, visited Joint Base Charleston on June 3 to present Bronze Star medals to several Airmen returning from theater. As I read the citations from the podium, it drove home one more time the level that the Air Force is committed to winning today's fight. The first medal was given to Maj. William Skinner, 628th Force Support Squadron, for overseeing 600 Airmen across 24 austere operating areas within Afghanistan who were either part of embedded training teams or in combat support teams with our sister services. The next went to Master Sgt. Sean Houlihan, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs, for his support to Special Operations. Finally, the last medal went to Staff Sgt. Christopher Ferrell, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal noncommissioned officer in charge of training, who was back from his fourth deployment. Each time he risked his life leading combat missions "outside the wire" and on the last, he saw teammates fall in action.

While I've spent a majority of my career on the flight line, I am exceptionally honored I now have the opportunity to serve alongside a new breed of warrior who is making a difference across the battlefront, both on and off the tarmac.

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