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Joint Base Charleston leadership visits North AAF, invites local mayor

Leadership from the 628th Air Base Wing and the 437th Airlift Wing flew to Joint Base Charleston’s North Auxiliary Airfield in North, South Carolina, Sept. 28, 2020.

While visiting NAAF, Joint Base Charleston leadership toured the infrastructure and facilities of the 2,400 acre airfield and discussed the strategic advantage the training ground plays for Joint Base Charleston, Air Mobility Command, the DoD and other mission partners.

“Units across the DoD utilize this airfield for a wide variety of reasons,” said Nathaniel Watts, airfield manager assigned to the 437th Operations Support Squadron. “Along with the airfield, the wooded area provides an excellent location for field and ground training.”

Since the location is a certified controlled airfield, it is equipped with an air traffic control tower and a permanent aircraft rescue and firefighting station, both with important memorandum of understandings with various local and federal agencies to ensure the safety of the service members and civilian agencies who utilize the airfield.

“We are a fully functioning firefighting unit here with enough resources to handle most aircraft emergencies,” said Tech. Sgt. Adam Mabie, a firefighter assigned to the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron. “We have memorandum of understandings with local hospitals to ensure the safe and timely medevac of anyone who may need those life-saving services.”

Along for the tour of NAAF, the mayor of North, Julius Jones was able to see firsthand how his small rural town of less than 1000 people plays a part in the nation’s defense. He even got to go into the air traffic control tower, from which he was able to spot tall landmarks near his home a few miles away and realized how close in proximity he was to the airfield.

“I haven’t been to this airfield since the mid-sixties,” said Jones. “This is an impressive place and I can see why it’d be important to the training the military needs.”

The visit served as an informational launch point for the new leadership at Joint Base Charleston to foster a relationship with the town of North and to find ways to logistically and structurally improve an important training location.