Pre-planning is essential for newcomers moving to Naval Weapons Station Charleston, whether for a permanent change of station, or temporary assignment. Two excellent sources of information for military moves are Military OneSource and MilitaryHOMEFRONT. Information on every DoD installation, formerly contained on the Department of Defense “SITES” Web site, was moved to these sites in May 2007.
MilitaryHOMEFRONT contains resources for everyone who is relocating from one duty station to another anywhere in the world. The Web site includes a section on planning PCS moves, as well as a section with information on 350 military installations worldwide. The web address is: www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/.
Military OneSource provides information about a wide range of subjects including relocation, child care, personal finances, emotional support during deployments, or resources needed for special circumstances. The web site address is: www.militaryonesource.com.
All newcomers are encouraged to contact the Naval Weapons Station’s Housing Welcome Center at (843) 764-7264 or toll free at (800) 362-2399 as soon as orders are received. The staff will help you locate suitable and affordable housing either on-base or in the local area. On-base Bachelor Housing can be arranged in advance by calling (843) 764-7646.
Single enlisted students beginning classes at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command do not need to go through this process. They will be met at the Charleston International Airport and be taken directly to the NNPTC training complex where they will in-process and be assigned a room.
Newcomers and visitors have four potential options for temporary quarters. There are two on-base suites available through the Housing Welcome Center; on-base vacation villas available through Morale, Welfare, and Recreation department; visitor’s quarters at Charleston Air Force Base; and numerous hotels and motels in the local area. Details are outlined in the Housing section of this guide.
Newcomers are also encouraged to contact their local Personal Property office as soon as possible after receiving orders to arrange shipment of household goods. Once shipment dates are known, contact the Personal Property Office at Naval Weapons Station Charleston by calling (843) 764-7575 to arrange delivery or storage of household goods.
All new personnel should hear from a gaining-command sponsor shortly after receiving orders. If not, contact your gaining unit and ask for your sponsor’s name and phone number. Your gaining command should also provide you with a mailing address where letters can be forwarded until a permanent address can be established. You can also call the Fleet and Family Support Center at (843) 764-7294 to request a Welcome Aboard packet.
Naval Weapons Station Charleston is located approximately 12 miles north of Charleston International Airport, along the western shore of the Cooper River. Goose Creek, South Carolina, is its official mailing address. Since the base covers more than 17,000 acres, and includes 292 miles of road, it is important for newcomers and visitors to locate the main base entry (Gate 1) on Redbank Road, a public access highway that bisects the northern and southern portions of the installation.
The four-mile portion of Redbank Road, located on-base, begins approximately seven miles from exit 205 off of Interstate 26. This portion of Redbank Road includes most public areas of the base where newcomers and visitors register their vehicles, in-process, obtain housing, and receive host-base support. Also located along the base section of Redbank Road are housing areas, commissary, Navy Exchange, restaurants, chapels, and most Morale, Welfare, and Recreation activities.
There are no military gates entering Naval Weapons Station Charleston on this portion of Redbank Road. The only indications you have entered the base are brick signs on each side of the road that read “Naval Weapons Station Charleston.” However, access to all work areas outside of this area are tightly controlled through security gates both on weekdays and weekends, with no public access allowed.
By car – From points north or south, exit Interstate 95 to Interstate 26 east. Exit I-26 at Highway 78 (exit 205). Travel east for two miles, staying left at the fork where you travel two additional miles through a traffic light. Turn right onto Redbank Road at the next light and travel three miles to the base (just past North Rhett Road).
By plane – Arrive Charleston International Airport. Exit airport and head for I-526 east, which is a loop around Charleston. Exit I-526 at North Rhett Road. Turn left on North Rhett Road and drive approximately 4.5 miles to Redbank Road at third light. Turn right on to the base (as soon as you cross the railroad tracks).
Since the base does not operate a shuttle bus, and distances between facilities can be considerable, personal transportation is recommended. The one exception is for single students beginning training at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command who are not permitted personal vehicles for the first four weeks of their assignment at the Naval Weapons Station. They will reside in a self-contained training complex, with dormitories, recreational center, gym, and school house. Van transportation will be provided for their off-station activities.
Since each command has unique procedures for signing in, newcomers should check with their sponsors on procedures to sign in and get their orders endorsed before in-processing.
Auto Registration and Regulations
1661 Redbank Road, Building 302
All vehicles entering Naval Weapons Station Charleston must have a valid DoD decal or temporary base pass. Both are issued by the Pass and Badge Office. The main Pass and Badge Office Is located in Building 302 (South side of Redbank Road just before entering the base). The Pass and Badge Office is open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. A second Pass and Badge Office is located at Gate 4 on Remount Road. It is open weekdays from 7 a.m.
until 3 p.m.
Since Redbank Road is a public road that bisects the base, access is available to common use areas such as family housing, commissary, base exchange, and MWR activities on weekends. However, access to all work areas is tightly controlled both on weekdays and weekends, with no public access permitted.
Newcomers must register their vehicles with the Pass and Badge Office within 30 days of assignment. The following documentation is required:
1. Proof of Ownership - Your vehicle must be registered in your name or your spouse’s name, or you must have notarized written permission from the owner to operate/register the vehicle (bill of sale cannot be accepted).
2. Insurance - You must ensure that your liability coverage fulfills South Carolina’s financial responsibility laws. Check with your insurance company to be sure. You’ll also need your current proof of insurance card which should be maintained in your vehicle at all times.
3. ID or CAC Card - You must have a current military identification or civilian ID card.
Drivers and passengers of all vehicles transiting the base must have their seatbelts fastened at all times. Child restraint systems are required for transporting all children under 6 years old. In addition, vehicles must use headlights and windshield wipers in inclement weather.
Temporary Visitor Badges – An authorized Command representative must fax a memorandum, approving visit in advance, to the Pass and Badge Office. The visitor must then provide a driver’s license or state ID card to the Pass and Badge Office to be issued the badge. Visitors driving rental vehicles
must provide (1) rental agreement; (2) driver’s license; and
(3) VIN number of rental car which is printed just inside the
Guest Passes – Passes will be issued to visiting guests. Base residents having visitors must meet them at the pass office where a temporary badge and vehicle pass will be issued for the length of time stay at their residence.
Motorcycles – Prior to registering a motorcycle on base, bikers must report to the Motor Cycle Safety Office (Room 122 in Building 302) which will verify that training is current and proper for the type of motorcycle driven. If needed, the Safety Office will schedule training, and issue a temporary permit. Anyone eligible for a base decal may take the on-base MSF safety course at no cost. The Motor Cycle Safety Office is open Monday-Friday from
8 a.m.-4 p.m.
To obtain a base decal, a motorcyclist must present:
(1) Proof of liability insurance meeting South Carolina
minimum insurance requirements;
(2) Drivers license with a motorcycle endorsement or class M;
(3) Current vehicle registration; and
(4) Certificate from the Motor Cycle Safety Office
indicating training is current or scheduled.
Military personnel are required to wear personal protective equipment when riding motorcycles both on and off base. Civil Service personnel and all others are required to wear personal protective equipment on base, and are encouraged to do so off base. Personal protective equipment includes a DOT-approved helmet, impact or shatter resistant goggles or full-face shield; long sleeve brightly colored upper reflective garment; sturdy footwear; full-fingered motorcycle gloves; and long-legged pants. A reflective vest is not required, but is recommended.
Firearms – Family housing residents are permitted to keep personally-owned firearms in their quarters; however,
these must be registered with the Naval Weapons Station
Personnel Support Activity
Building 302, 1661 Redbank Road
Phone: (843) 764-7431/7432/7433/7771
After checking in at your duty station, and getting your orders endorsed with the time and date you reported, all military newcomers must report to the Personnel Support Activity Detachment (PSD) on their first duty day for in-processing. Here, you will update and verify information in your service record, and complete your travel claims for you and your dependents. PSD is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Students reporting in to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command are in-processed at the training command and are
not required to report to the Personnel Support Activity Detachment in person.
When in-processing, newcomers should bring endorsed orders, official records, and all travel receipts, along with any new information such as local address and phone number, if known. PSD will then assist you with updating your personnel records, filling out your travel claim, verifying your DEERs records, and arranging any special payments.
PSD is dedicated to providing superior quality service to all active duty personnel and their families assigned to Naval Weapons Station Charleston as well as thousands of reservists, retired personnel, and survivor annuitants in the region.
Services provided by PSD include pay, travel, service records,
re-enlistments and retirements, CAC, dependant ID cards and DEERS enrollment. The ID lab is open weekdays 7:30 a.m.
until 3:30 p.m.
____Arrange for shipment/storage of household goods through
Personal Property Office.
____Obtain name/phone number of sponsor from gaining
____Provide change-of-address to U.S. Postal Service.
____Provide landlord at least 30 days advance notice of move.
____Arrange to have utilities/services disconnected.
____Arrange temporary lodging at destination.
____Contact Bachelor Housing or Housing Welcome Center,
as appropriate, at destination to begin search for permanent
____Contact potential school districts.
____Place children on Central Enrollment Waiting List for on-base
child care, as appropriate.
____Browse helpful “Relocation” web sites.
____Hand carry important paperwork.
____Military (Orders, Endorsements, Official Records, etc)
____Civilian (Medical Records, Children’s Immunizations,
Passports, Birth Certificates, etc)
____Document travel expenses.
____Have gaining command endorse orders with time and date
____Report to Personnel Support Detachment on first duty day to
in-process, establish Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) at
new duty station, and complete travel voucher.
____Report to Bachelor Housing Office or Housing Welcome
Center, as appropriate, to apply for or obtain information
on permanent housing.
____Contact Personal Property Office to arrange delivery/storage
of household goods.
____Visit Fleet and Family Support Center for area information
brochures, to sign up for Spouse Orientation Program,
and obtain Loaner Locker items, as needed. Visit FFSC’s
website for an electronic Welcome Aboard Packet (eWAP)
____Register vehicle(s) within 30 days of arrival on base.
____Contact local Department of Motor Vehicles for license &
registration, as appropriate.
____Provide U.S. Postal Service with new address.
____Enroll children in school.
____Enroll children in on-base child care programs.
____Arrange utility and service connections, as appropriate.
(Bring receipts from previous utility companies to reduce
____Establish local banking services, as desired.
____Make appropriate changes to home/auto insurance.
*Since every move is unique, this list should not be considered all-inclusive.
The Naval Weapons Station Charleston Newcomers' Guide is published by Benchmark Publications Incorporated, a private firm in no way connected with the Department of the Navy, under exclusive written contract with Naval Weapons Station Charleston. The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts and supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Department of the Navy or Benchmark Publications, Incorporated of the products or services advertised. Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. The Naval Weapons Station Charleston Newcomers' Guide is an unofficial publication authorized by AR 360-81. Editorial content is prepared, edited and provided by the Public Affairs Office of the Naval Weapons Station Charleston. All photos are provided by the Public Affairs Office unless stated otherwise.