Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is located in the heart of the South Carolina lowcountry, and is among the United States military's most important and most historically colorful installations. The Marine Corps Air Station is located in the southeast corner of South Carolina's lowcountry, within Beaufort County. MCAS Beaufort is situated 65 miles south of Charleston and 50 miles north of Savannah, Georgia. Beaufort is considered a high cost of living area.
The base covers 6,900 acres, of which 5,800 are located east of Highway 21 and include operational facilities. The remaining acres contain the Laurel Bay military family housing area four miles west of the Air Station main gate. Another 5,200 acres at the Townsend Bombing Range in McIntosh County, GA also belong to MCAS Beaufort. The Georgia Air National Guard, through an agreement, carries out day-to-day management of the range. The base operator's phone number is 843-228-7100. To view a Welcome Aboard video visit this website.
From plantation farm to fighter base, the Air Station's history holds special significance in South Carolina. MCAS Beaufort, nicknamed "FighterTown," holds a significant place in the history of the South Carolina.
The Air Station site was formerly the location of several prominent plantations, including Clarendon and Edgerly. The Laurel Bay military housing area, located four miles from the Air Station proper, is said to contain portions of the Bull and DeVeaux Plantations. British troops landed at Laurel Bay in 1779, during the Revolutionary War and battled Americans at Grays Hill.
More than a century and a half later in the summer of 1941, the Civil Aeronautics Authority proposed to establish an airport at the present Air Station site. As a result of a selection board on August 5, 1942, approximately 5,800 acres of land were purchased by the government for construction of a Naval Auxiliary Air Station. Construction began during December, 1942, and was completed in August 1943. On June 15, 1943, the airfield was commissioned Naval Air Station Beaufort. During World War II, the Air Station supported advanced training and operations of anti-submarine patrol squadrons over the United States' southeastern seaboard.
Deactivated in 1946, it was reactivated as a Marine Corps Auxiliary Airfield in 1956, and designated a Marine Corps Air Station March 1, 1960. The airfield was named Merritt Field in September, 1975, in honor of retired MGen. Louis G. Merritt, USMC. This dedication was the result of a resolution passed by the South Carolina General Assembly. For more information see MCAS’ homepage.
MCAS Beaufort hosts all active duty USMC F/A-18 air operations on the East Coast. The mission of the Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort is to provide support as an operational base for MAG-31 and the support units.
The mission of the Marine Aircraft Group (MAG-31) is to conduct anti-air-warfare and offensive air support operations in support of Fleet Marine Forces from advanced bases, expeditionary airfields, or aircraft carriers and conduct such other air operations as may be directed.
Currently, the Fightertown family consists of more than 700 marines and sailors, along with 600 civilian personnel who ensure that approximately 3,400 personnel of Marine Air Group 31 and its component squadrons and tenant units are readily deployable. Fighter Town's Hornet squadrons rotate overseas regularly, either for six-month training deployments to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, as elements of Marine air-ground task forces, or aboard Navy aircraft carriers. At any given time, up to half the squadrons may be found at various points around the globe, and are routinely called into action when the Commander in Chief requires airborne strikes or support for ground forces.
If you are interested in acquiring a sponsor, please contact your gaining command and request a sponsor. If you need additional assistance, please contact the Relocation Office at 843-228-6401 or DSN 312-335-6401.
The Detreville House is located onboard MCAS Beaufort and offers rooms (including some with a king-size bed) with or without a kitchenette. You must make a reservation early as the rooms are in high demand. Prices range from $50.00 to $60.00 per night (with a kitchenette). King Suites are also available at $65.00 per night. The Detreville House does not allow pets. If you are traveling with a pet please call the Day Bos Pet Vacation for boarding your pet at 843-770-1100. If kennel services are not available and you must stay off base you can obtain a nonavailability slip so that you can be reimbursed for lodging expenses. The telephone number of the temporary lodging facility is 843-522-1663.
There are no pet boarding facilities at MCAS Beaufort. Some local kennels are listedbelow:
- The Animal Hospital of Beaufort, 2511 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC, 843-524-2244
Battery Creek Veterinary Hospital, 422 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort, SC 843-525-1114
Rae's Pet Care Boarding and Grooming, 10 Alexander Way, Beaufort, SC, 843-525-6712
**Mandatory -- A Welcome Aboard Brief is held the 3rd Wednesday of every month at the O'Club. The brief begins at 10:30 am. Spouses are encouraged to attend. For more information please call the RAP office at 843-228-6401.
To borrow household items while waiting for your household goods shipment, MCAS Beaufort has a great Lending Locker. All items are first come, first serve. Available for loan are: air mattresses, TVs, microwaves, toasters, coffeemakers, alarm clocks, pack n' plays and much more.
Any assistance you need is just a phone call away by calling 843-228-6401 or DSN 312-335-6401 during normal working hours.
Beaufort is susceptible to high tides, flooding, and hurricanes, although, they seldom cause severe damage. It is wise to have renter's insurance if renting off-base or living in government housing. A list of insurance companies offering renters insurance is available at the Housing Office.
Cost of community housing (off-base housing) is relatively high in the Beaufort area. This is particularly true for Junior enlisted families requiring two or more bedrooms, who face greater out-of-pocket expense. Beaufort is located in close proximity to valuable resort property, and plays host to three military facilities located in a sparsely populated, rural setting.
It is important to hand carry your medical/dental records, copy of official orders, school records (for you and your children), personnel file (SRB), training records, birth certificates, Social Security cards, pink slips/titles for vehicles, resumes, insurance papers, passports, warranties, road hazard insurance papers, and prescriptions.
Information regarding pets:
- Rentals which allow pets are limited.
- Many area hotels do not allow pets, including the Detreville House.
- Some hotels charge extra for pets.
- Kennels for boarding are expensive and there are no boarding facilities on base.
South Carolina law requires you to turn on your car headlights whenever there is any restriction to visibility while driving. This includes rain, fog, smoke, as well as at dawn and dusk.