Military Affairs

Proudly called “The Most Military Friendly Community in America”, Columbia and the greater Midlands Region contains the second largest military presence in South Carolina.  A “Purple Heart City”, Columbia is home to the US Army’s largest training base at Fort Jackson, the South Carolina National Guard and McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Department of Defense Contractors, military retirees and veterans, and the US Army Reserve. The combined economic impact of these military operations is in excess of $4.1 billion dollars, over 37,163 jobs and labor generated is $1.7 billion.

The Columbia Chamber’s role is one of advocate and champion for our military.  We work tirelessly to strengthen the relationships between the community and military, working to support their families, and retaining and expanding the local military footprint. The benefits of a vibrant military community are numerous and we work with local leaders, elected officials (city, county, state and federal) to enhance military benefits and opportunities from tax exempt retirement pay to property tax exemption for deployed soldiers. These efforts help create an atmosphere that welcomes our military families, embraces and supports their needs, and encourages them to retire in the Greater Midlands.

Military Affairs Initiative

Instrumental in acquiring the land for Camp Jackson in 1917, now Fort Jackson, the Columbia Chamber has served as an active partner and advocate for Fort Jackson over 100 years. The Columbia Chamber was also active in recruiting the Fort Jackson National Cemetery to Columbia and in lobbying for the establishment of the USO branch in our community.

The Chamber’s Military Affairs initiative, working through the Military Outreach Group, is committed to achieving the following goals on behalf of the military community:

  • Onboarding of senior leadership (both military and civilian)
  • Serving as a liaison with legislative members and elected officials
  • Serving as a liaison with the South Carolina Military Base Task Force
  • Advocating for the military mission and families
  • Connecting local Department of Defense Contractors and businesses to enhance relationships
  • Connect military organizations such as USO, AUSA, an ESGR with local community reps to reinforce partnerships and enhance support for our men and women in uniform

These goals will be achieved, in support of the Chamber’s Forward, Together Initiative and 2018 Public Policy Agenda, by increasing partner awareness and military support.

To learn more about the Military Outreach Group, please call Susan Vaughan McPherson at (803) 733.1148 or email us today.

Join us at our next Military Affairs Group on April 24, 2018 at 2:00 PM at SC National Guard Armory, Military Museum.

Register Online

We welcome incoming military families and encourage you to consider our home your home as you serve at Fort Jackson. We value your service in the military and appreciate the role of military spouses and family members. Contact the Columbia Chamber if we can assist you or your family. Many establishments and attractions in our area are considered Friends of Our Forces and provide discounts to military members and their families.

Military Information

Fort Jackson

  • Largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center for the Army
  • Annually trains over 75,000 soldiers:
    • 50,000 basic combat training soldiers
    • Over 25,000 soldiers at the Soldier Support Institute, National Center for Credibility Assessment, and the Chaplain and Drill Sergeants School
  • Conducts fifty-four percent of Army’s Basic Combat Training
  • Trains sixty-one percent of all women entering the Army
  • Holds weekly basic training graduations
  • Attracts nearly 5,000 visitors to Columbia weekly
  • Annually brings in over 200,000 visitors who spend an estimated $45 million in restaurants, hotels and at various attractions like Riverbanks Zoo, EdVenture Museum, the Columbia Museum of Art and the SC State Museum

South Carolina National Guard

  • Includes:
    • SC Army National Guard
    • SC Air National Guard and McEntire Joint National Guard Base,
    • SC Emergency Management Division
    • SC Military Museum
    • SC State Guard

 South Carolina Air National Guard

  • Mostly trains and operates out of McEntire Joint National Guard Base (JNGB)
  • McEntire JNGB is the home of over 60 SCANG and SCARNG military aircraft; and over 2,400 Soldiers, Airmen and civilians
    • Only base in the State under the control of the Governor

SC Military Base Task Force

  • Exists to enhance the value of our state’s military installations and facilities, as well as the quality of life for our military personnel and their families
  • Coordinates efforts among public and private sectors to maintain a significant U.S. Department of Defense presence in South Carolina