Washington, DC - First Lady Melania Trump and Second Lady Karen Pence traveled to Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday morning. The visit focused on thanking troops for their service and learning about the base’s emergency response, relief, and recovery efforts throughout the community and around the globe. Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence also took time to visit a local school to teach children about the importance of emergency preparedness.
Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence were met by Governor Henry McMaster, of South Carolina, and Mrs. McMaster; Colonel Adams, Commander of the 628thAir Base Wing; Colonel ZumBrunnen, Commander, 437th Airlift Wing, and his wife, Mrs. ZumBrunnen; Colonel Thigpen, Vice Commander, 315th Airlift Wing; Mrs. Gilmour, Spouse of Colonel Gregory Gilmour, 315th Airlift Wing Commander.
The first stop in Charleston was Lambs Elementary School. Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence visited with fifth graders participating in the Red Cross Pillowcase Project, an emergency preparedness program designed specifically for children. The Pillowcase Project originally started after Hurricane Katrina and has a national goal of reaching 3,500 youth in the state of South Carolina and nearly 225,000 youth throughout the country annually. As children decorated their pillows, they talked about the different items they would take from their home in case of an emergency. The First and Second Ladies distributed Be Best flashlights for the kids to include in their safety kit.
At the Emergency Operations Center on base, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence received briefings from the 841st Transportation Battalion, US Coast Guard, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Emergency Operation Center staff. Each briefing included information on how the unit was equipped for disaster readiness or response. With briefings highlighting readiness, stewardship of the seas, weather forecasting, and agency cooperation, the presenters provided insight into the humanitarian recovery efforts and emergency response missions, displaying the important role our military and government agencies play in major emergency situations.
Following the briefing, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence toured static displays of an Air Force C17, a Coast Guard Helicopter and watercraft, and an Explosive Ordinance Disposal vehicle. Each stop included a capabilities briefing from a subject matter expert.
Inside an aircraft hangar, Mrs. Trump addressed troops and civilians of Joint Base Charleston, along with military families, acknowledging the incredible efforts of the base personnel. Mrs. Trump highlighted some of the humanitarian efforts taking place within the community and around the world, reaffirming the Administration’s total support for our men and women in uniform.
The First Lady and Second Lady met with more troops and military families before departing for Washington.
“Thank you to Joint Base Charleston and Lambs Elementary for the wonderful and warm welcome today,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “It was an honor to meet with so many members of our Armed Forces and to learn about the important and life-saving work happening on this base and within the community every day. I applaud the Red Cross and Lambs Elementary for proactively teaching our youth important readiness skills so that they can be better equipped for emergency situations.”
“It was an honor to join the First Lady at Joint Base Charleston and learn the vital role service members there play in our nation’s emergency preparedness, said Second Lady Karen Pence. “I’m also grateful for Red Cross and the lessons they shared with students at Lambs Elementary School on how to best handle an emergency situation.”