The history of the MEC dates to the early 90’s when it was first established as part of a Save the Bases campaign during the 1993 and 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds. At that time the community was concerned that MCAS Beaufort, MCRD Parris Island and/or Beaufort Naval Hospital would be recommended for closure by the BRAC Commission. Thankfully, MEC efforts were successful in defending the installations in 1993 and adding two F-A/18 squadrons to MCAS Beaufort in 1995 that were scheduled to go to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina.
Fast forward ten years and the MEC was successful at protecting the military installations again during the 2005 BRAC round in which they convinced Pentagon and Capitol Hill officials that Beaufort was ideal for training and a great home to the military. Paramount to this successful campaign were the many community partnership efforts such as a Joint Land Use Study that led to the DoD purchasing land adjacent to the Air Station that would prevent encroachment in perpetuity.
While there hasn’t been another BRAC round since 2005, that doesn’t mean the MEC has been inactive. They went on the offensive in 2010 to become the Marine Corps Air Station of choice for the state-of-the-art F-35B aircraft. Continuing a track record of success, the MEC helped convince DoD leaders to base three F-35B operational squadrons and the Pilot Training Center (PTC) at MCAS Beaufort, along with an influx of facilities and infrastructure construction projects to support them.