JB Charleston, PMSG make history as first joint base community to win Abilene Trophy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Bailee A. Darbasie
  • 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston and the Palmetto Military Support Group were awarded the Abilene Trophy Nov. 10 at the 2023 Airlift/Tanker Association Annual Convention and Symposium in Dallas, Texas.

The Abilene Trophy is an award presented annually by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce to the Air Mobility Command community that proves to be the most supportive of their local military installation - and this year, the trophy went to a joint base community for the first time ever.

“Our Charleston community is so deserving of this award,” said Col. Michael Freeman, 628th Air Base Wing commander. “It’s a wonderful recognition that showcases the effective partnership we have with our community.”

While Charleston has won the Abilene Trophy in the past, this is the first time the award has been presented to the Charleston community since Charleston Air Force Base and Naval Weapons Station Charleston became Joint Base Charleston in 2010.

“We’re thrilled to be the first joint base community to receive this prestigious award,” said Mary Graham, PMSG board of directors. “Our Lowcountry community absolutely earned this recognition.”

The PMSG works to bridge the gap between service members and their communities through volunteer work, education and fundraising. From local events to total force support, the PMSG and the surrounding community have dedicated their time and effort to give back to the men and women of Joint Base Charleston.

“It’s all about supporting the mission,” said Shaun Martin, Abilene Military Affairs Committee member. “Service members provide freedoms and protections to us as citizens every day. Anything we can do to support them and their families is critical so they can fulfill their missions and keep serving.”

Founded in 2015, the PMSG is fully volunteer-run and made up of veterans, small businesses, and large corporations that have a passion for liaising between military leadership and the civilian community to promote a mutual understanding of one another’s missions and opportunities for engagement.

“The days of bases being completely separated from their communities are long gone,” Freeman said. “The support Joint Base Charleston receives from our community is so vital to our mission. We’re extremely grateful to be a part of this community.”