3rd Army opens new $100M headquarters at Shaw AFB

The Army Central command's Patton Hall at Shaw Air Force Base / U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tabatha Duarte

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina political and military leaders gathered to celebrate the opening of the Third Army's new $100 million headquarters at Shaw Air Force Base.

A ribbon cutting Friday formally opened the doors Friday to the 7-acre facility, built amid scrub pine forests on the sprawling air base outside Sumter in central South Carolina.

Third Army Commander Lt. Gen. William Webster welcomed U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., along with leaders of the nearby Sumter community.

"The Third Army has about 38,000 people who are deployed all the time, we run five different command posts, and this headquarters will be the heart and soul of that," said Lt. Gen. Webster.

Crews broke ground on the sprawling facilty two years ago, named for World War II General George Patton. It will be fully functional later this year.

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The move brings 1,200 military personnel and their families from Atlanta's Fort McPherson. The Third Army handles logistics for Army forces from Iraq to Afghanistan. The move puts them alongside the Ninth Air Force, which is in charge of all air forces in the region.

"A lot of officers and high ranking non-commissioned officers are coming in, so it will have an effect on our per-capita income and economy," said Sumter Mayor Joseph McElveen.

The Pentagon ordered the closure of Fort McPherson in Atlanta and the shift to Shaw in 2005 as part of a national reshuffling of military bases.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)