Governor Roy Cooper

Governor Roy Cooper Urges Support for MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East

April 06, 2020

Photo of NC Gov Roy Cooper

In a March 31 letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Governor Cooper urged the continued efforts to transform Cherry Point into a 21st century airstation. Specifically, the Governor urged action and cooperation:

“I know you appreciate how important it is to me that North Carolina does all it can to support and grow the
military. Therefore, I ask that you work with me to:

  • Seek Congressional authorization and appropriation of funding for critical infrastructure upgrades and
    new construction at FRC East. I will work closely with the North Carolina Congressional delegation to prioritize
    the construction of projects that support both the Department of Defense’s priorities and the State’s
  • Reaffirm the Navy’s commitment to use FRC East as primary source of depot work for F-35 JSF lift fans,
    components, and other related work. The people of our state are fortunate to have over seven hundred
    thousand dedicated and talented service members, veterans and their families call North Carolina home. As
    Governor, I am committed to maintaining the state’s status as the most military-friendly state in the Nation. I
    welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how the Navy, Marine Corps and the state can work
    together for the betterment of our installations, service members, their families, and veterans.”

Find a copy of Governor Cooper’s letter HERE.





November 13, 2019

Photo of NC Gov Roy Cooper

From Carteret County News-Times
November 12, 2019

CHERRY POINT — Gov. Roy Cooper paid his first visit as governor to Fleet Readiness Center East aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to tour the depot’s facility and discuss workforce development Tuesday.

FRC East is the maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider for Marine and naval aircraft aboard Cherry Point. With around 4,200 employees, it is the largest industrial employer in the region, generating more than $720 million in annual revenue.

As part of his tour of the facility, Gov. Cooper met members of FRC East’s first class of apprentices under the National Apprenticeship Program. The four-year program, which welcomed about 40 apprentices in August, offers participants a combination of education and on-the-job training. The apprentices receive free schooling and work as full-time federal employees with pay and benefits, and will be offered jobs at FRC East upon successful completion of the program.

“Some of them (apprentices) are veterans who retired and decided that they want to come back and do this kind of work. There are people who just graduated from high school and are working in an apprenticeship to get the kind of credentials that they need for a good paying job,” Gov. Cooper said during his tour Tuesday. “I’ve talked to people who started out here as artisans and have worked their way up to managing a lot of employees, so there’s clearly opportunity for advancement here, and I think there’s a lot of pride in the work that they do because of the importance of it, but also they’re grateful to get this kind of training that gives them the support they need for their families.”

John Olmstead, public affairs officer for FRC East, said if the first year of the apprenticeship program proves successful, the depot will consider continuing it in future years. More than 380 applicants vied for 40 spots in the program, and 37 apprentices are now receiving education and training.

The governor spoke highly of FRC East, especially as it relates to job creation and supporting economic development in eastern North Carolina.

“This is a hidden gem in eastern North Carolina for good jobs for everyday people,” he said. “…These are the kind of jobs we want North Carolina families to have, where you can make a good living. But it also requires some expertise, and this is why we’ve got to continue to invest in education across our state, because making sure that this workforce is ready, not only for commerce in our area, but this workforce is ready to defend our country. That is critical, and it’s exciting the work that’s been done here.”

Calee Holmes is one of the participants in the National Apprenticeship Program and said the fact Gov. Cooper has taken an interest in FRC East validates the work she and her fellow apprentices do aboard the air station.

“It makes me feel great that I’ve made it this far and that people are actually appreciating what we do,” she said. “…We’re being taught a trade that, unless you’ve been in the military, you’re not going to learn, so me being a stay-at-home mom and being brought out here and being taught from the ground up is unbelievable.”

Gov. Cooper also spoke on the state’s recent investment of $5 million for development of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft at Cherry Point. The F-35 is the military’s next-generation fighter aircraft with three distinct variants, and FRC East is the primary repair and maintenance depot for the F-35B variant. It can also service the A and C variants, and last year, FRC East achieved a milestone when it serviced and returned all three variants of the aircraft.

“I was a strong supporter of that effort for the state of North Carolina to come in and to provide funding because we needed to close the gap and make sure that it was happening here in North Carolina,” Gov. Cooper said. “I think you’re going to see the rest of the country, also private business, looking to FRC East to provide help for them. They know they can get great work here done on time, so I think having this facility here, it’s a small price to pay for what we’re getting back in economic investment in eastern North Carolina.”

Gov. Cooper said he is proud of the state’s role in national defense and he hopes to continue to support the work FRC East does to further that mission.

“To make sure that this is a successful endeavor, that we have one of the best places in the country for repair and renovation of aircraft and that we are ready as a country to defend our people and that North Carolina can play such a big part in that,” he said. “We are indeed the most military friendly state in the country, and we are going to do everything we can to uphold that reputation.”


ACT Representatives Attend Presentation

April 15, 2019


Reps from ACT attend presentation of $5 million to support Navy F-35 infrastructure at FRC East.

On April 4, 2019, Representatives from Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow were delighted to attend the presentation of a $5 million grant from the state of North Carolina to to support F-35 Lightning II related infrastructure at FRC East located at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. From left, Marc Finlayson (ACT), James Norment (ACT), James Ogburn, Col Clarence “Bubba” Harper, Commissioner ET Mitchell (ACT), Governor Roy Cooper, Captain Mark Nieto, Mayor William Lewis (ACT.)


FRC East Accepts $5 Million Gift from State of NC

April 09, 2019

FRC East receives $5 million from NC to support F-35C Lightning II infrastructure. Allies for Cherry Point.

On Thursday, April 4, Fleet Readiness Center East’s Commanding Officer Col. Clarence T. Harper III, on behalf of the U.S. Navy, accepted a gift of $5 million from the state of North Carolina to support F-35 Lightning II related infrastructure at FRC East located at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. >>>Read More



NC Defense Industry Diversification Initiative Launches Website

July 24, 2017


Raleigh, NC, July, 24th, 2017 – The North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and NC State’s University’s Industry Expansion Solutions, proudly announces the launch of the North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (NC DIDI) website.

Are you a North Carolina Company receiving DoD Contracts as Prime or Subprime Contractor? If so go online today to:

  • Apply for a chance to be accepted into  the Pilot Project aimed at Expanding and Diversifying NC Firms whose portfolios were affected by DoD Contract Reductions
  • Learn about the Impact of DoD Contracts in NC
  • Discover the valuable resources and publications available to DoD Contractors in NC
  • Learn about Taking the NC DIDI Supply Chain Study Survey

In a proactive response to changes in federal defense budgets the North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (DIDI) was created. The initiative is being managed through a partnership of  NC State Industry Expansion Solutions and theNorth Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The goal is to understand, support, and respond to the needs of North Carolina’s defense businesses at the state level.

Awarded in April 2017, this program is funded through a $1.9 million grant from the United State Department of Defense (DoD)Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).  North Carolina will use the grant from the DoD to devise a plan to help lessen the impacts of defense cuts resulting from the 2011 Budget Control Act. Data on defense spending collected by the DoD OEA for Fiscal Year 2015 show that prime defense contracting activity in North Carolina has decreased by more than $1 billion since 2011.

In commenting on the grant, Governor Roy Cooper said “We’re proud to be the most military-friendly state in the nation and recognize that the businesses and people supporting our men and women in uniform are an economic engine across North Carolina. Therefore, it is crucial that we take steps to create jobs and encourage businesses to grow throughout our military communities.”

“North Carolina is proud to be the home to so many businesses and people who work to support our military,” Secretary Larry Hall said. “The defense sector is the second largest driver for North Carolina’s economy, and this grant can help these businesses find new ways to thrive in our state.”

The NC Defense Industry Diversification Initiative will conduct an analysis with the goal of helping vulnerable companies pursue alternative markets or find other methods to reduce their dependence on the DoD and, in doing so, lessen economic risk to the state. The initiative seeks to ensure that the defense supply chain remains robust, so that it is able to quickly absorb sudden high demands from Department of Defense agencies.

The NC DIDI Pilot Project is open for application submissions until September 1st, 2017.  Applications as well as criteria for the Pilot Project can be found on the website at