235 years of the Marine Corps, a Beaufort perspective

Flickr user sis

As we're sure many of you know, today marks the 235th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, and the Corps' history in Beaufort dates back almost 120 years. Here's a bit on the Corps' history here in Beaufort County.

Parris Island

Though Parris Island has been used by the U.S. military since the Civil War, when it was used as a coaling facility for the Navy, it wasn't until 1891 that Marines first were stationed out there. And it was on November 1, 1915, that Parris Island was designated a Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Currently, thousands of men and women pass through Parris Island every year, leaving as Marines. 

For more information about Parris Island, and there's a ton out there, you can check out:

I also invite you to visit the Parris Island Museum, which is an incredible collection of Marine Corps history.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

In June 1943 the Civil Aeronautics Authority established Naval Air Station Beaufort, though the land has a long history prior to that.

Here's an excerpt from the Air Station's website:

The acreage occupied by the Air Station was formerly the site of several prominent Lowcountry plantations, including the Clarendon and Edgerly, Bull and Deveaux plantations. In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, British troops landed at what is now the Laurel Bay Housing area and battled American revolutionary troops at Gray's Hill. The Beaufort area was also a staging area for both Confederate and Union troops during the civil war and elaborate plantation homes still line Bay Street, overlooking the Beaufort River.

The base was deactivated in 1946 and then reactivated in 1956, and it was in 1960 that it was redesignated Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Today more than 1,200 people, between civilian and military personnel work out at MCAS Beaufort or Fightertown, where three versions of the F/A-18 Hornet are flown.

What's next?

While Parris Island continues to do what it does best - train Marines - the future of MCAS Beaufort rests with the future determination of how many F-35B squadrons the base will receive. You can read much more on that issue over at our F35 topic page.

Still, what's undeniable is the Corps' impact on the Beaufort community.

According to a recent study commissioned by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, the military contributes $1.2 billion to our local economy. That's billion with a B.

So that's my little overview of the Corps' history in Beaufort County.

I'm sure all of us have stories about what the military's contribution means in our own lives, and we invite you to share those stories with us. We just thought it important to remind you that the Marine Corps' birthday means more than balls and birthday cake. 

Understanding the history is important.

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