Click here for more information on the Military Enhancement Committee, plus the latest news on sequestration, BRAC and on-going efforts to protect and enhance Beaufort's military installations.
In the world of the Navy and Marine Corps, our community is second to none in supporting its military installations.
The Beaufort Regional Chamber has led the way in keeping the area’s installations intact during the Base Realignment and Closure processes of 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 2005.
The military installations have an indirect impact on the local economy in excess of $1.4 billion. The three military installations located in the area collectively employ more than 8,400 local civilians and military personnel. The bases also help attract new industry to the area and the Lowcountry Economic Network is aggressively marketing this advantage. We often say, “The noise you hear is the sound of freedom” but it is also the sound of money. The Beaufort Regional Chamber supports statewide incentives that recognize military installations as economic engines and creates a positive environment for growth and expansion.
The Economic Impact of the Military Community in South Carolina - November 2012
The Chamber works with local, state and federal elected officials to ensure that the area military installations are well-supported and are the gold standard nationally for community partnerships.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
The Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Eastern Recruiting Region (MCRD) trains all enlisted male Marines east of the Mississippi and all enlisted females for the U.S. MCRD graduates about 20,000 Marines annually. MCRD also has the job of recruiting for the Marine Corps east of the Mississippi. MCRD’s direct economic impact is $322 million with a total economic impact of $594 million. MCRD also brings in about 165,000 out-of-state visitors for graduations. MCRD’s Family Days and graduations fill hotels and restaurants on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with a local estimated economic impact of about $81 million.
Families and visitors interested in planning a trip to the area for graduation can find information here.
Naval Hospital Beaufort
The Naval Hospital employs 696 military and civilian personnel at the Port Royal facility. The Naval Hospital provides medical services to all active duty Navy and Marines, as well as area retired military and their families. The Naval Hospital enjoys a strong working relationship with Beaufort Memorial Hospital with shared services and facilities. The direct economic impact of Naval Hospital Beaufort is $87 million with a total economic impact of $167 million.
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (MCAS) is home of six Marine squadrons, all flying F-18s. MCAS Beaufort has a direct economic impact of $296 million and a total impact of $702 million on the local economy. In December 2010, the Department of the Navy announced that MCAS Beaufort would receive two training squadrons and three operational squadrons of the upcoming F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
Major Initiative – Land Use Surrounding MCAS
The Department of Defense has identified the F-35 as the next plane for the military and MCAS is slated to receive the planes in 2014. MCAS is likely to have both operational and training squadrons which will have an even greater local economic impact.
Nationally, Beaufort County, Beaufort and Port Royal are held up as leaders on developing innovative land use tools to minimize incompatible development around MCAS. In 2006, with the Beaufort Regional Chamber’s full support, Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort and the Town of Port Royal passed airport overlay district zoning around MCAS. MCAS has partnered with Beaufort County and Beaufort County Open Land Trust to purchase property rights to protect the area around MCAS. The local governments are also looking at an innovative, market-driven tool called “transfer of development rights” to further protect MCAS from incompatible development.
The 2005 BRAC process revealed that an expeditionary field may provide a stronger position for the MCAS. The Beaufort Regional Chamber also has done preliminary studies on the possibility of an expeditionary field for the MCAS to facilitate the process for future consideration.
Major Initiative - Community Support for Military Families
Every year in September, the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts the military and their families at Military Appreciation Day. The 2013 festival will take place from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 7 at 600 Laurel Bay Road, Beaufort. Military Appreciation Day features family-focused events during the day with activities for children along with plenty of food, drink and games. This is a free event for military families and their friends. We thank our sponsors who help make it possible.
The Chamber also has a discount program for the military and their families. Click here for details.
The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce supports state legislation that allows military families to quickly assimilate to South Carolina. Examples include reciprocal licensing for certain business licenses and transfer of classes taken at higher education facilities. We are proud that through partnership with other military communities in South Carolina, we were able to successful push reciprocal licensing legislation through the General Assembly and have it signed into law by the Governor in 2012.