Along with oysters, legendary author Pat Conroy and the smell of pluff mud, one of the things Beaufort is known for is “The Sound of Freedom,” the familiar sound of fighters from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort streaking overhead.
Expect to hear more of that sound in the coming months.
Last week, MCAS Beaufort told local residents to expect an increase in air operations. The increase is expected to last from 10 months to a year.
There are three key factors are attributing to the increase.
First, all five F/8-18 squadrons are home on the base and operating normally. This is the legacy fighter jet platform the Marine Corps has operated since the early 1980s.
Second, there is a general increase in the training of and production of F-35B pilots, who are trained at MCAS Beaufort.
And third, the main runway that most people see while passing MCAS on Highway 21 will be closing for repairs. This will shift jet traffic to the secondary runway, which runs perpendicular to the main runway. Jets departing and approaching that runway fly over the Pigeon Point neighborhood in the City of Beaufort.
No date has been set yet for the runway switch.