Military Appreciation Days
For nearly 50 years, Myrtle Beach was a military town. First, it was home to the U.S. Army Air Corps in the 1940s, and then to the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in the 1950s. The United States Air Force closed the base in 1993, and the property has since been transformed into the Market Common District. To observe our city’s military history, Myrtle Beach Military Appreciation Days celebrates those who have served our great nation. The month-long celebration in May features various free events, including a JROTC Drill Competition, parade with Grand Marshal and picnic!
Military Appreciation events are planned by the City of Myrtle Beach's Military Appreciation Committee, an ad hoc committee open to all interested individuals with a passion for our United States military. Below is the list of 2023 events. Questions? For information, call 843-918-1054.
- Colonel Robert Hawkins Veteran Volunteer Service Award – Nomination Deadline is Monday, April 3, 2023
- Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ Military Card Set – Nomination Deadline is Monday, April 10, 2023
- Horry County Junior ROTC Drill Meet – 9:00 a.m., Saturday, May 6, 2023, Pelicans Stadium Parking Lot, 1251 21st Avenue North
- Military Family Members Social – 12:00 p.m., Saturday, May 6, 2023, Pelicans Stadium Parking Lot, 1251 21st Avenue North
- Myrtle Beach Pelicans Military Appreciation Night – 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 20, 2023, Pelicans Stadium, 1251 21st Avenue North
- Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall Exhibit – Thursday through Sunday Evening, May 25-28, 2023, Field at Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium, 1004 Crabtree Lane
- Fourth Annual Veterans Victory Walk – 6:00 a.m., Saturday, May 27, 2023, Grand Park, 1119 Farrow Parkway, https://bit.ly/4thAnnualVictoryWalk
- Military Appreciation Days Parade, Honorary Grand Marshal and Official Grand Marshal – 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 27, 2023, Along Farrow Parkway at The Market Common CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
- Family Picnic – 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May 27, 2023, Valor Memorial Garden, 1120 Farrow Parkway CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
- Jack Platt Veterans’ March with Battlefield Cross Ceremony – 9:00 a.m., Monday, May 29, 2023, Along Ocean Boulevard, 16th to Ninth Avenues North
- Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony – 11:00 a.m., Monday, May 29, 2023, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 North Oak Street
- Courage in Korea: A Soldier's Story (Free Military Documentary) – 2:00 p.m., Monday, May 29, 2023, Grand 14 Cinema, 4002 DeVille Street
- Festive Brass Concert Performance – 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 30, 2023, Ballroom ABC, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 North Oak Street
- Veterans Day Ceremony – 11:00 a.m., Friday, November 11, 2023, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 North Oak Street
Caitlin Bassett, U.S. Army veteran and actress, will serve as Grand Marshal for Myrtle Beach’s 2023 Military Appreciation Days Parade on Saturday, May 27. You know her on your television screen as Addison Augustine from the NBC primetime series Quantum Leap. She’s excited to return to her family’s home of Myrtle Beach to celebrate and honor the service and sacrifice of our country’s military members and veterans this Memorial Day weekend.
Bassett enlisted in the U.S. Army at 18. She completed her basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas. Caitlin spent seven years as an intelligence analyst, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. She completed three combat deployments, two in Afghanistan and one in Qatar. She also worked at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in Hawaii and NSA Main in Maryland before being honorably discharged in 2015.
As Grand Marshal, Bassett will lead the parade along Farrow Parkway at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 27, then greet fans immediately afterward at the Family Picnic in Valor Memorial Garden. Everyone is invited to enjoy the free festivities which include lunch, live music and military exhibits and displays. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall also will be available within walking distance of the picnic, next to Crabtree Memorial Gym.
During her time in the Army, Caitlin earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus in Legal Studies. After her military service, she moved to New York to attend Brooklyn Law School. While there, she was inspired to give theatrical schools and film sets a shot. She followed her passion for art full time when she was offered a position in the Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s theater program. Bassett is now a main character on NBC’s Quantum Leap, starring alongside Raymond Lee. You can watch the series on Mondays at 10:00 p.m.
As a special twist this year, Caitlin’s father, Steve Bassett, a Vietnam War veteran, will be singing live during the Family Picnic at Valor Memorial Garden. Steve and his wife, Judy, have called Myrtle Beach home for the last decade. Caitlin considers Myrtle Beach her “second home.” The family is originally from Howard County, Maryland. Steve is a pilot, business owner, musician and former sports broadcaster. Judy, a vocalist and horsewoman, worked for the National Parks Service in Washington D.C.
“I’m so excited to be included in this wonderful memorial alongside my father,” Caitlin said. “I’m incredibly honored to have the opportunity to join the Military Appreciation Days celebrations with the great community of Myrtle Beach.”
Military Appreciation Days is sponsored by the City of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from many local groups and organizations. The Military Appreciation Committee looks for a celebrity with a military background to serve as Grand Marshal for the annual parade. Previous Grand Marshals have included John McCain, Buzz Aldrin, Rocky Bleier, J. R. Martinez, Montel Williams, Noah Galloway, Alex Skarlatos, DeShauna Barber and Keni Thomas.
VIETNAM TRAVELING MEMORIAL WALL
As part of Myrtle Beach’s Military Appreciation Days, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will return May 25-28, 2023. Thanks to the Myrtle Beach Vet Center and Veterans Café, the exhibit will be staged at the field by Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium, 1004 Crabtree Lane. Admission is free! The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is a three-fifths scale version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. It stands six feet tall at the center and it measures nearly 300 feet in length. The Vet Center will provide on-site support services. The wall will be guarded for the entire length of its stay in Myrtle Beach. Visitors are welcome to visit 24 hours-a-day. Free parking is available on Forbus Court, Crabtree Lane and in nearby public parking spaces. For information, call 843-918-1054. To learn more about the display itself, visit https://www.travelingwall.us/. See the schedule of wall-related events below.
- Opening Ceremony – 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 26, 2023
- Remembrance Ceremony – 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 27, 2023
- Closing Ceremony – 1:00 p.m., Sunday, May 28, 2023
Volunteers… The Military Appreciation Committee needs volunteers for the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall! For general volunteer information and to sign up, send an email to Karen Levinson at email@example.com. For those that want to help set up and/or take down the display, contact Ed Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org. To volunteer for guard duty, send an email to Lt. Joe Goldsmith at email@example.com.
Entries are being accepted now for this year’s Military Appreciation Parade on Saturday, May 27, 2023! Interested groups, businesses and marching bands are invited to participate. Click below to download the form.
NOMINATE A VETERAN: COLONEL ROBERT HAWKINS VETERAN VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD
Nomination forms are now available for the city’s Military Appreciation Committee’s annual Colonel Robert Hawkins Veteran Volunteer Service Award! The late Bob Hawkins, a retired U.S. Army colonel and key volunteer behind Myrtle Beach's Military Appreciation Days, is remembered with this award. The award recognizes a person for their volunteer services to a veterans group, an individual veteran, veterans’ families and/or the greater Grand Strand veterans’ community. To download the nomination form, which includes submission directions, see the “Military Appreciation Days” folder on the Documents Center webpage.
OUR MILITARY HISTORY: SPLINTER CITY
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and the United States’ entry into World War II, the United States Army Air Corps opened formal operations in March 1942 at the Myrtle Beach Bombing and Gunnery Training Range. The facility encompassed the Myrtle Beach Airport. Construction began to meet the urgent needs for combat air crew training and a “wooden city,” affectionately known as “Splinter City,” began to take shape in the form of offices, barracks, a hospital and various maintenance and training facilities. Some of the facilities were used in 1943 to house German prisoners of World War II.
Splinter City, of course, evolved to become the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, playing a primary role in the Vietnam and Gulf Wars. In 1985, the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was Horry County’s largest employer, accounting for 25 percent of the county’s payroll then. At the time, the base population included 3,500 military personnel, 500 civilians and 5,200 dependents.
The United States Air Force closed the base in Myrtle Beach in 1993, and the property has since been transformed into the Market Common District, complete with an urban town center known as The Market Common, a Grand Park that features open space, Warbird Park, the Wall of Service, recreation fields, a large lake and more. The Market Common area also features streets named for people who were involved in the base’s history and its redevelopment.
APPLICATIONS, DOCUMENTS & FORMS
The forms listed below are available in the “Military Appreciation Days” folder on the Documents Center webpage.
- Parade Registration Form
- Marching Band Registration Form
- General Exhibit and Volunteer Information
- Exhibit/Display Request Form
- Colonel Robert Hawkins Veteran Volunteer Service Award Nomination Form