Military

Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce gathers more than 12,300 signatures for Save Our Fort initiative

The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce exceeded its goal of getting the Midlands to support saving Fort Jackson personnel. The business organization’s Save Our Fort initiative garnered more than 12,300 petition signatures to demand the U.S. Army maintain service member and civilian employee numbers on the base. “We hear it again and again that the Columbia region is the ‘most…

Dorn VA Medical Center gets visit from federal officials amid concerns from local, state leaders

Acting U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson visited the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center on Wednesday amid concerns from local and state leaders about conditions at VA hospitals across the country. Gibson met with medical center leaders and employees to discuss patient care issues at the VA hospital off Garners Ferry Road. “The kinds of delays and mistreatment…

Fort Jackson commander outlines challenges ahead for Columbia base, nation’s military forces

Fort Jackson is projected to train 2,000 more soldiers in fiscal year 2014 than last year, but impending cuts to the nation’s military forces are still on the horizon. Brig. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, Fort Jackson’s 46th commanding officer, spoke to a large crowd at the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce’s July breakfast meeting Tuesday, and he outlined the effect…

Photo Gallery: American Legion Poker Run raises money for children of fallen military service men, women

Dozens of local motorcyclists braved the heat Saturday and spent the morning and afternoon riding the roads to raise money for children of American military men and women killed in the line of duty. Even the motorcycles needed some shade after Saturday’s poker Run (photo by Allen Wallace). Chapin’s American Legion Post 193 sponsored a Poker run to raise money for the…

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Rep. James Smith propose plan to help South Carolina veterans with health care problems

South Carolina Sen. Vincent Sheheen said Tuesday that with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in a state of dysfunction, South Carolina leaders must “stand in the gap” and do all they can to help veterans in the Palmetto State. Sheheen and state Rep. James Smith are proposing a plan to do just that. Smith will ask the state House…

Lexington County Marine to receive Medal of Honor

Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter, a retired Marine who went to high school in Lexington County and currently attends the University of South Carolina will be awarded the nation’s highest military honor next month. Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Medal of Honor winner (photo provided) President Barack Obama will present Carpenter, 24, with the Medal of Honor on June 19 for Carpenter’s heroic…

Midlands Technical College named among top military-friendly colleges

Select students and faculty at colleges around the country are asked to fill out surveys each year to detail how military-friendly their school is. Midlands Technical College received high marks on the most recent polls and was deemed a top military-friendly college in 2014 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities by Military Advanced Education. Military Advanced Education is a national magazine that covers military-related…

Gov. Nikki Haley signs new military homeowners tax bill

Gov. Nikki Haley gave tax relief to South Carolina’s military families after she signed a new bill that would preserve active duty service members’ property tax rate on unsold homes. The Military Homeowner Protection Act of 2014 guarantees that active duty soldiers who are required to move to fulfill orders would maintain the 4 percent property tax assessment granted to…

Veterans fair scheduled for Monday in West Columbia

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson is bringing together veterans’ organizations, government agency representatives and local employers for an upcoming event designed for area veterans. Veterans and their families are invited to Brookland Baptist Church on Monday to learn about important job opportunities, benefits and even psychological care available to them. Wilson’s veterans’ fair will feature representatives from the Social Security Administration,…

Fort Jackson continues barracks construction despite defense budget cutbacks

Fort Jackson is on schedule to continue construction on a $100 million basic combat trainee barracks complex, according to an official with the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee. Col. Steve Yackley told Chamber members Tuesday that the federal government would continue funding Phase One of the military installation through fiscal year 2015. The first phase of the…

Department of Defense closes Fort Jackson commissary; furloughs imminent

Fort Jackson is feeling the effects of the federal government shutdown after the Department of Defense sent a message Tuesday to all U.S. military bases in the states alerting them that their commissaries, the military equivalent of a grocery store, would close. The decision will affect 3,600 active duty soldiers and 11,520 family members that live on Fort Jackson. Commissaries…

Shaw Air Force Base feels effects of federal government shutdown

Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter has been forced to furlough many civilian employees, suspend some contractor services and diminish or shut down programs on the base because of the federal government shutdown. An exact number of people affected by the shutdown was not immediately available Wednesday. Col. Clay Hall, 20th Fighter Wing Commander, posted a summary of the impact…

Deployed soldier returns home to surprise his son

On a blazing hot Friday afternoon, recess is underway at Lake Carolina Elementary School, tucked away in the tiny town of Blythewood. First-graders are whizzing past teachers, swinging from monkey bars and generally doing what rambunctious children do to expend some energy. Six-year-old Luke Ross is unaware, but he’s about to get a long-awaited surprise. Luke gives his dad, Tech….

Shaw airmen return home from deployment

After five months deployed in South Korea, 300 airmen returned home Thursday night to Shaw Air Force Base. Returning airmen are greeted by family and friends. (photo provided) The airmen are from the 20th Fighter Wing, 55th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit. Based at Shaw, they were sent to South Korea to provide additional support for regional security. The…

Local officials welcome new Fort Jackson leaders to Midlands

Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre and Susan McPherson (center) welcome Fort Jackson’s new commander Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker and his wife, Sherri (right), and SSI commander Col. Paul Chamberlain and his wife, Lara (left), to the Midlands. (photo by Rachel Ham) Political, municipal and business leaders from across the Midlands gathered Tuesday morning to welcome Fort Jackson’s latest leaders. Three weeks…

Fighter jets to conduct drill above Columbia on Thursday

Fighter jets will be escorting small planes through the skies above Columbia Thursday. It’s part of a drill conducted by South Carolina Air National Guard pilots and others from McEntire Joint National Guard base. The exercise will take place over Hamilton-Owens Field. The jets will escort single-engine Civil Air Patrol planes. The planes will be in the air between 10…