Armed Forces Day celebrating the men and women serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy is May 15. It comes during May's Military Appreciation Month observance, which culminates with Memorial Day, the May 31 American holiday that honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
During May, The Times and Democrat is continuing our "Stories of Honor" series in which we each week profile a person having served or now serving in the U.S. military. It's the third year for the series that began in March and will conclude in July.
The profiles are an important way of saying thank you to all having served by telling the stories of those from Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties nominated by T&D readers.
Our locale and South Carolina as a whole appreciate the military. And the military presence here is vital.
South Carolina is home to eight major military installations and more than 417,000 military veterans. That includes one of every 10 adults in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The South Carolina Military Base Task Force, which is part of the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2019 released the report, The Economic Impact of S.C. Military Community: 2019 Update. It found that the total economic impact of South Carolina’s military community surpasses $25.3 billion annually.
The number includes the economic activity generated through TRICARE, which adds $1.2 billion in economic input to the $24.1 billion of economic impact reported in 2017. TRICARE is a health care program utilized by service members, veterans and their families.
“South Carolina’s military community is deserving of our respect and admiration, not solely because of the tremendous sacrifices they make for us, but also because of what they bring to our state on a daily basis,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “This report is further proof that South Carolina simply wouldn’t be what it is today without our rich military history and the men and women who choose to serve in the armed forces.”
“The military community represents a major economic sector for South Carolina,” said Bill Bethea, chairman of the task force. “This impact is felt throughout the state as well as in those communities that host military installations, because military retirees using TRICARE health benefits live in every county. The economic impact of TRICARE supports 9,672 jobs and $552.8 million in labor income to the state.”
The update of the economic impact of South Carolina’s military community also identified that the state is home to 191,519 military-related jobs.
On Armed Forces Day and during Military Appreciation Month, we join in saluting the military community.