Advocacy for the Military in Beaufort County
GIC, Beaufort County and the Military
Late in 2021, the Executive committee was evaluating whether to maintain a Military Committee. In addition to an evaluation by two GIC members and input from the GIC Military Committee Chair, John Cully, Michael Akey, USAF Maj Gen Ret., president of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) South Carolina Council of Chapters addressed the GIC Board of Directors at their February 24th meeting. His subject was the South Carolina Veterans Coalition (SCVC). In addition, Carlton Dallas brought information on the economic impact of the military in Beaufort County. The GIC Board voted to retire the Military committee. This decision was made for several reasons:
- There are several very active and effective organizations advocating to support the military and the economic impact they bring to Beaufort County
- The GIC is most effective when it doesn’t overlap with other organizations
- John Cully and Carlton Dallas were invited to join the MEC, the first GIC members and the first members in the southern part of Beaufort County (see below for information on the MEC)
Following is information regarding the key organizations which are currently advocating in the County.
MOAA is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization comprised of 12 chapters located throughout SC and are part of the national association. With about 370,000 members from each of the seven uniform services, we are a powerful force speaking for a strong national defense and representing the interest of military officers at every stage of their careers. Membership includes active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve and former officers and their families.
MOAA provides useful information for their constituents on topics such as Insurance, financial services, magazines and employment, education and retirement assistance on their website: http://moaasc.org/Home. You can learn more about MOAA’s purpose, history, leadership and membership (National, State and Chapter) on the website.
South Carolina Veteran’s Coalition
The mission of the SCVC is to advocate and represent its member organizations, speaking with one unified effective voice in South Carolina; to work with public policy makers to ensure proper support for veteran issues and concerns; and to inform/educate South Carolina citizens about the needs and the high value contributions of veterans, active duty service members, National Guard, the Reserves, and their families.
The organization was formed in 2021 and mirrors the organization of successful coalitions in numerous other states and represents 57,000 veterans.
General Akey explained who the SCVC represents and how it works. He then presented the status of bills that SCVC supported in the 2021/22 SC legislature which included: H3598 VSO Stipend, H3352 to H3247 Mil Retirement, H3337 Advanced School Enrollment and H3599/H3833/3840 Licensing Compacts
To view, download or print General Akey’s full presentation, click here.
In addition, to read more about the SC Veterans Coalition and the SC Legislative bills they are supporting, click here.
Military Enhancement Committee (MEC) of Beaufort County
The MEC of Beaufort County was established in 2003 by the Beaufort County Regional Chamber of commerce as an auxiliary committee of the Chamber The Beaufort County Council, the city of Beaufort and the Town Councils of Beaufort and Port Royal were concurring partners in the establishment of the MEC.
The Military Enhancement Committee of Beaufort County (MEC) is an Auxiliary Committee of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to enhance the quality and value of the military installations of Beaufort County and to lay the framework to defend these three military bases with regard to any threats, including base realignments and closures, and to establish procedures and contingency plans in the event one or more of these military installations is closed or realigned.
The MEC addresses community concerns and responds to opportunities regarding any possible reductions, additions or changes of mission with any of the region’s military installations.
Members of the Military Enhancement Committee are appointed by local governments, the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Island Council and the South Carolina Military Base Task Force. Funding for the Military Enhancement Committee’s work comes from local and state governments, business and private contributions.
Economic Impact of the Military on Beaufort county
Marine Corps Air Station BEAUFORT
Labor Income: $373.5 million
Economic Impact: $787 million
MCAS Beaufort is the home of the Marine Corps’ Atlantic Coast fixed-wing, fighter-attack aircraft assets.
The Marine Corps Recruit Depot PARRIS ISLAND
Labor Income: $344.3 million
Economic Impact: $739.8 million
MCRD at Parris Island has trained enlisted males since 1915, and enlisted females since 1949. Marines have trained on the Depot during each major conflict of the 20th and 21st century.
NAVAL HOSPITAL BEAUFORT
Labor Income: $103.7 million
Economic Impact: $217.4 million
In operation since 1949, Naval Hospital Beaufort consists of the hospital and two Branch Health Clinics — one at MCRD Parris Island, and the other at MCAS Beaufort.
More information about the impact of the Military on Beaufort County can be found in this Military Economic Impact Study: To view or download the study. Click here.