In November 2022, Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, USCG (ret) and Charleston County Economic Development began leading the effort to highlight the valuable relationship between the Coast Guard members, their families and the communities in which they work and live by applying for the Coast Guard Community designation. The Chamber was asked to convene government partners from across the region to join in the application.
According to U.S. Coast Guard guidance:
“The Coast Guard City program recognizes communities that support local Coast Guard members. A city, municipality or county earns the designation ‘Coast Guard City’ or ‘Coast Guard Community’ by making special efforts to acknowledge the professional work of the Coast Guard men and women assigned to their area. Coast Guard Cities regularly reach out to Coast Guard personnel and their families and make them feel at home in their ‘home away from home.’ The city’s efforts illustrate a longstanding and enduring relationship with an emphasis on considerations the community has made for the members of the Coast Guard family.”
The effort was well-timed considering the Coast Guard Base expansion planned for Charleston by 2030. Currently, the Coast Guard has about 1,300 personnel in the region and that number is expected to grow to 2,300 by 2030. With the increase in Coast Guard personnel, we also anticipate around 5,290 dependent family members to accompany them, creating an even greater need for Coast Guard leadership to be at the table when the Chamber is discussing regional challenges like housing, education and infrastructure.
While we waited for the fate of the Tri-County’s application to be designated a Coast Guard Community, the Chamber began the process to amend our bylaws so that the Commander of Coast Guard Base Charleston could serve as a liaison to our board of directors.
This January, everything began to align.
Greater Charleston was designated an official Coast Guard Community. The ceremony was held on January 26 at the South Carolina Ports Cruise Terminal where Charleston County Council Chairman Herbert Sass III accepted the designation on behalf of the Tri-County Region from Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda L. Fagan.
Commander of Coast Guard Base Charleston, Capt. Eric Jones, was able to attend his first Chamber board meeting this January and expressed his shared interest in a prosperous Charleston community. The Chamber is thrilled to have such a great partnership with our Coast Guard neighbors and looks forward to collaborating more on our shared priorities.
Have a great weekend!