Based inside Beaufort County some sixty five miles south of Charleston, the Marines Corps Air Station lies over almost 7000 acres near Highway 21. About one third of this land is used by the Laurel Bay military for residential housing. Also a little of the land at Townsend Bombing Range is owned by Beaufort.
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort houses one of the largest aircraft groups, which includes around four thousand sailors. It’s formidable size and standard of efficiency has given it the name of ‘fightertown’, a tribute to its reputation.
Cost of Living: The cost of living is slightly lower than that of the average American cost of living, estimated at 92% of the USA average
Automated Telephone Attendant Number: 843-228-7100
Base Population: There are 4,476 members on active duty, 6,970 family members and 892 civilians.
City/Area Population: There are around 12,361 residing in Beaufort.
Child Development Centers: The CDC’s at Beaufort offer hourly services for children between six weeks and five years, preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, and complete day care for 13 to 5 year olds. Special programs such as The Family Child Program offer home services for kids between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years. The center also accepts children who require special needs. Call at 843-228-7290/846-2270.
Youth programs: The base has two youth centers for the children of the members.
MCRD is located at Parris Island at can be reached at 843-228-1536. The other one is based in the Laurel Bay area. The office can be contacted at 843-228-7640.
Airman and Family Readiness Center: (DSN) 312-335-7158
Employment: The base has a Career Resource Management Center that keeps a real time record of all the job vacancies along with software tools to create resumes and employment letters. The average income of a household is $44,804. The office of CRMC can be contacted at 843-228-6670 / 843-228-3377 or (DSN) 312-335-6670.
Base Services: Beaufort provides MCCS facilities and has a commissary located at Parris Island along with stores and marts. There is a full fledged marine mart located at Laurel Bay. Commercial banks such as MCAS Beaufort Federal Credit Union are present on base.
Medical Services: There is a dedicated ‘A Branch Medical Clinic’ (843-228-7051 / (DSN) 312-335-7051) and ‘Branch Dental Clinic’ (843-228-7512 / (DSN) 312-335-7512) on base jus for active members on duty and one more ‘Beaufort Naval Hospital’(843-228-5600 / (DSN) 312-335-5600) that offers medical service to all retired and family members on base. It lies in South Carolina.
History: First commissioned in 1943 to train and counter submarine patrols during the war, Naval Air Station Beaufort was taken down in 1946 and then reinitiated in 1956. This time it was handed over to the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and in 1975 had its name changed to Merritt Field after Major General Lewie G. Merritt.
Squadrons from Beaufort were a part of the operations during the Balkans conflict in 1993 which stopped air warfare during the Bosnia-Herzegovina issue. In 1999 the base sent forces to take part in Operation Allied Force and Noble Anvil in Serbia.
Post 9/11, Beaufort squadrons were amongst others who were called to attack and take out the Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighter bases and camps in Operation Enduring Freedom. A total of three squadrons dropped more than a million pounds of ordnance on the terrorist groups over a period of 6 months.
The primary mission of MCAS Beaufort is to act as support giver to MAG-31 and related squadrons. The base hosts air shows twice a year to the public which are quite popular. There was a fatal accident in 2007 involving a Blue Angel’s aircraft. “Fighter town East” is the nickname given to MCAS Beaufort. In popular culture, MCAS Beaufort was a central location in a novel written by Pat Conroy which was later adapted into the motion picture “The Great Santini”.
Units: MCAS Beaufort has the following units on its base, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Aircraft Group 31, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, Marine Air Control Squadron 2, and Detachment "A” Combat Logistics Company 23.
Housing: The average housing price in Beaufort is around $165,200 and average rent in Beaufort County is a little more than $820. The company in charge of the housing at the base is TriCommand Military Housing.
Photos of Base
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