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 Reserves. The combined economic impact in the Midlands is $6.6 billion, with Fort Jackson alone accounting for $4.2 billion. The defense community represents over 57,848 jobs (18,000 service members, 79,000 veterans, 16,547 veterans, and 3,435 Department of Defense civilians).

As advocates and champions for our military, the Columbia Chamber works 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 and 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 2023 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.

View Military Affairs Fast Facts