Beaufort, South Carolina’s three military bases play vital, unique and efficient roles in our nation’s defense. From training new Marines at Parris Island since 1915 to training new F-35 fighter pilots at Marine Corps Air Station-Beaufort, our facilities are key to a safe future for America.

What else does the military do for our community? 

Color Guard…Our military, their spouses and their families donate thousands of volunteer hours and are woven into the fabric of our Lowcountry life.

…Marine Corps Air Station-Beaufort is the training center for all Marine pilots flying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – and we’ll also be home to three operational squadrons to defend America.

…The salaries paid to military and civilian employees at the three bases and Laurel Bay DoD schools ripple through the economy, helping to keep open your favorite restaurants, shops and services.




What makes Beaufort’s Tri-Command Unique and Efficient?

Marine Corps Air Station BeaufortF-18 Landing

  • Currently serves six squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters which rotate in support of training deployments which provide security and a forward presence in areas of operations around the world.
  • Serves as the Marine Corps’ only F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter training center, creating a “Center of Excellence” which provides specialized training for the most advanced weapons system in the Department of Defense.
  • By 2030, MCAS will host three operational Marine Corps F-35B JSF squadrons in addition to two training squadrons.
  • Accommodates additional aviation squadrons through multinational and interservice training exercises.
  • Manages expansion at Townsend Bombing Range, South of Savannah, Ga., which is currently expanding the training acreage making it one of the military’s largest air-to-ground training ranges on the East Coast.
  • Has direct control of Townsend Bombing Range and provides ideal training for missions from the sea or from inland approaches – cost-effective for jet fuel
  • Manages unencroached East Coast airspace ideal for training, including the offshore computerized Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System range which provides training and performance evaluation in air-to-air combat.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris IslandPI Graduation

•      The heart of Marine Corps tradition since 1915, this isolated island provides unique and unparalleled training opportunities for recruits

•      Parris Island sits on 3,250 acres surrounded by 5,000 acres of saltwater marsh and rivers, protecting it from encroachment and residential development

•     With small investment, Parris Island can double its recruit output. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, PI graduated 51,169 recruits compared to approximately 17,000 in 2011


Naval Hospital BeaufortNaval Hospital Beaufort

This facility in Port Royal, SC, on the banks of the historic Beaufort River, provides medical and dental support to PI recruits, Marines at the Air Station, dependents and retirees. It is located just minutes from both MCRD Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort.

This 361,000 square-foot facility provides advanced diagnostic and treatment equipment. Additional services are provided in partnership with Beaufort Memorial Hospital.