BEAUFORT, Sc. (WSAV) — The Beaufort Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2017 State of the Bases Breakfast Wednesday morning, where commanders from Beaufort’s three military bases shared the accomplishments of the last year and what’s to come.
Colonel Peter Buck with the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station announced that they are the first in the Marine Corps to achieve star status for excellence in safety.
“Air Station Beaufort will be awarded the Occupational Safety and Health Association Voluntary Protection Program’s star status,” Buck said.
He also addressed recent headlines concerning health effects at Laurel Bay.
“I’ve issued an environmental study,” Buck said, “As the air station commander and as a resident of laurel bay, Pam and I and our children live over at Laurel Bay, that I’m committed to answering the question and I’m committed to continuing to provide a safe and healthy environment and home for our families.”
Colonel James Stone with the Parris Island Recruit Depot shared many things to come in 2017.
“2017, we anticipate that we’re gonna train more than 19,000 recruits.. should be about 130,000 visitors to the Lowcountry,” Stone said.
He spoke of many improvements coming to base, including the rifle range and solar energy. “We recently received approximately $92 million dollars … we are going to build a 3 point megawatt combined heat and power plant.”
Captain Jeffrey Korsnes announced that the Beaufort Naval Hospital is the first military hospital to have six different radiology specialties.
The Military Family of the Quarter was also recognized, Sergeant Matthew Phillips and his wife, Nikol.
Bob Bible, the director of property management at Atlantic Marine Corps Communities presented the couple with the award, noting Sergeant Phillips’ welding responsibilities, his unit’s Suicide Prevention Officer, mentoring, and volunteering.
“Most recently Sergeant Phillips lead a team of marines over the course of five days putting in over 300 man hours clearing debris from neighbors homes and yards after hurricane Matthew,” Bible said, “The Phillips family has continuously placed the call to serve their community and country ahead of themselves.”
Sergeant Phillips is with the Air Station and says the support of the community is why he is able to do what he does.
“Beaufort is the most military-friendly town me and my wife have ever been in,” he said, “I just try and do what marines before me have done.”