A top priority resulting from the Savannah Area Chamber’s 2017 strategic plan was continued advocacy for the military in our area. To expand these efforts, the Savannah Chamber has worked with partners in Chatham and Liberty counties to form the Coastal Military Affairs Coalition. The Coalition traveled to Washington, D.C. on June 25 and 26 and included Savannah Chamber Military Affairs Council Chair Bill Cathcart, Savannah and Hinesville Mayors and City Managers and Bryan County and Liberty County Commission Chairs. The group joined together to proactively represent assets and advocate for continued presence of the military in our coastal region through meetings with several representatives on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon.
In previous visits, requests for funds to construct a new aviation hangar at Hunter Army Airfield were answered in the President’s FY20 budget. On this occasion, the coalition requested funds to accelerate the second HAAF hangar, establish an Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron within the Air National Guard, and attain new units and munitions, given available installation capacity at Ft. Stewart and HAAF. These requests were shared with congressional leaders and Department of Defense officials including Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue; Georgia Congressmen Austin Scott and Buddy Carter, GEN James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army; MG Charles Flynn, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7; LTG James Pasquarette, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff G-8; Ivan Bolton Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (OACSIM); Richard K. Hartley, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy; Carol Ann Beda, Director, Strategic Basing, U.S. Air Force; and Dan Bishop, member of the Senior Executive Service, Executive Director, Air National Guard.
These visits are an example of the Savannah Area Chamber’s efforts to preserve our local military value, which accounts for an economic impact of approximately $5 billion, thousands of jobs and families that contribute to our community’s quality of life.