Naval weapons station and Air Force base to merge

By Tracey Amick  bio | email

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - By October 1, the Naval weapons station and Charleston Air Force Base will merge into one base called Joint Base Charleston.

The merger is part of the Base Realignment and Closure mandate from 2005. The new Commander is Air Force Colonel Martha Meeker.

"I've got a fabulous running Air Force base and running weapon station and now I'm taking the two and colliding them together, " Meeker said.

The merger meets two goals.

"Efficiency is one and gotta save the taxpayers money," said Lt. Col. Kevin Riley, Joint Base Coordinator.

The project started back in February and Meeker said they are learning as they go.

"Even though we're one military service it's interesting to learn what drives the Navy and what drives the Air Force," she said.

Every military branch has its own culture and identity which has presented challenges.

"It's like taking the Microsoft culture and Google and see if you could put them together," Meeker said.

And while military personnel will maintain their branch identity, Navy civilian workers will be switching over.

"Somebody's been a Navy employee for 30 some odd years and now will work for the Air Force. There's gonna be some angst," Riley said.

The Air Force is taking the lead at this base because of the size and scope of their wartime mission, since they have the largest C-17 operation in the world.

The headquarters of the Air Force Base will be the new headquarters of Joint Base Charleston.

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