ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — Ellsworth was the temporary home for 11 C-17 Globemaster IIIs assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Aug. 1-4, that were evacuated in response to Hurricane Isaias.
This is the second time Ellsworth has sponsored Charleston C-17s in support of a Safe Haven agreement between the installations. In September 2019, the base hosted several C-17s and personnel as a result of Hurricane Dorian evacuation procedures.
“Having a place like Ellsworth to come as a refuge base is huge for us,” said Col. Clinton ZumBrunnen, 437th AW commander. “This is the second time in a little more than a year that we’ve come to Ellsworth for an evacuation. The peace of mind to be able to plan and pick up our operation and move it somewhere else that works is really a huge win for the Air Force.”
Aircrews, maintainers and other support personnel made up the group that relocated to Ellsworth as part of the evacuation.
“Ellsworth has an agreement with various other installations to provide Safe Haven support,” said Maj. Daniel Mount, 28th Operations Support Squadron director of operations, who oversaw the relocation efforts for the base. “When other installations experience an event such as a hurricane, we [feel] obligated to honor our commitment to support our brothers and sisters across the Air Force as best we can, based on our resources. We are proud to be able to provide meaningful relief to our Charleston counterparts this week.”
Officials from the base and Charleston worked closely to ensure each step of the evacuation and bed down process was in line with COVID-19 restrictions and safeguards for all personnel.
“These safeguards and restrictions are continuously updated based on the potential for increased risk of COVID-19 spread,” said Col. David Doss, 28th Bomb Wing commander. “This is another example of why the 28th Bomb Wing must always be prepared to respond to when asked – whether it is providing combat power around the globe or supporting another installation, we must be ready at a moment’s notice without fail.”
Prior to returning to Charleston, the 437th AW commander recognized Ellsworth for the support and hospitality the base provided.
“I realize this is a huge lift in terms of extra work for the people that have their own full-time jobs to do while they’re at Ellsworth,” ZumBrunnen said. “From the people of Charleston to the Airmen who run things at Ellsworth, I just want to say thank you from Joint Base Charleston.”