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 soon 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?
…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 will be the training center for all Marine pilots flying the next-generation superjet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – and we’ll also be home to three operational squadrons to defend America.
…The salaries paid to 8,500 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.
…The first phase of new construction for the F-35 jets is underway at MCAS-Beaufort, injecting $70 million into our economy and providing new jobs and new employees. In the next 24 months, another $280 million in construction is scheduled for the F-35.
Because of cutbacks in military spending, national leaders are looking at trimming the number of military bases. This might be through a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), through the Congressional "fiscal cliff" sequestration budget cuts or from a Pentagon decision.
What does that mean for Beaufort? It means we must rally behind our troops, spread the word about what they mean to the Lowcountry, and explain how our bases are the most efficient and effective ways for the Pentagon to do business… It means we need to work to protect our nation's military the same way they've worked to protect our freedoms for more than 236 years.
What makes Beaufort's Tri-Command Unique and Efficient?
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
• Currently serves six squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters which rotate to global hotspots such as Afghanistan and Iraq along with training deployments around the world
• It will be the Marine Corps’ only training center for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, creating a hub of specialized equipment and skills unique in the world
• Will host three operational F-35B Marine Corps squadrons plus two training squadrons starting in 2014
• MCAS Beaufort can accommodate additional fleet squadrons
• Department of Defense is nearly doubling the protected acreage at Townsend Bombing Range south of Savannah GA, making it one of the military's largest air-to-ground training range east of the Mississippi
• Townsend is under direct control of MCAS Beaufort and provides ideal training for missions from the sea or from inland approaches – cost-effective for jet fuel
• Unencroached East Coast airspace ideal for training, including offshore computerized air-to-air TACTS range
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
• 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 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.