Selected ACT Goals for 2020-2021

June 19, 2020


Cherry Point’s missions and assets are vital to our nation’s military capability and critical to our local economy.  Any loss of these missions or assets could negatively affect the quality of life for our citizens and communities.  ACT works tirelessly to sustain and grow Cherry Point’s missions on a daily basis, not just in times of threat.

Thanks to the strong support of active stakeholders, ACT is able to work to ensure that Cherry Point is put in the best possible light with decision makers in Raleigh and Washington, DC by coordinating a strong government relations program. Through public education and outreach, ACT also strives to make clear to the citizens of our region the role Cherry Point plays in our national defense and its importance to our economy.

Selected goals for ACT in 2020-2021:

  • ACT will work with the Cherry Point Congressional delegation to continue the strong investment in military construction funding at the air station.  Cherry Point was authorized and appropriated $240 million for a new aircraft maintenance hangar for the first squadrons of F-35s, along with a new Air Traffic Control Tower, and an F-35 Training and Simulator Facility.  Authorized but not funded is a construction project to improve safety and access at the Slocum Gate entrance to the air station.  Securing this funding will be ACT’s immediate priority in the coming year.
  • ACT will complete a state-funded project to create Military Influence Overlay Districts in the Cherry Point region.  This project will identify vital training areas that might be impacted by encroachment and encourage informed land use ordinances that will benefit both the air station and local governments.
  • ACT will continue to work with the NC General Assembly to legislate a fair and equitable policy for siting wind energy facilities, safeguarding the ability of our Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen to safely and effectively train in North Carolina.
  • ACT will continue to advocate that Fleet Readiness Center East receive funding to construct a new maintenance hangar for the F-35.  This funding will ensure that FRC East will be the preferred site for maintenance and repair work on the Joint Strike Fighter, not only for the Marine Corps but for the Navy and Air Force as well.

Moving forward, ACT will continue to utilize our marketing and public outreach plan to educate policy makers, Cherry Point employees, news media and the general public about the importance of Cherry Point to our national defense and regional economy.  Additionally, we will continue to facilitate the coordinated response of local government planning efforts in support of Cherry Point and its missions.  We will maintain our mission of advocating for the existence and success of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Fleet Readiness Center East and its civilian enterprises.





Marine Corps Announces New Aviation, Pacific Leadership Assignments

May 07, 2020


From US Naval Institute
By Megan Eckstein
May 6, 2020

Marine Corps Announces New Aviation, Pacific Leadership Assignments

Top row (left to right): Lt. Gen. Lewis Craparotta, Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, Maj. Gen. Mark Wise; Bottom row (left to right): Maj. Gen. Karsten Heckl, Maj. Gen. Dennis Crall, Maj. Gen. David Ottignon

The Marine Corps announced a shuffle of its two- and three-star generals, with nominations of new leadership for Marines in the Pacific, the aviation community, training and education and more.

Lt. Gen. Lewis Craparotta was nominated to serve as the next commanding general of the Training and Education Command (TECOM). He currently serves as the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific and commanding general of Fleet Marine Corps Forces Pacific out of Camp Smith, Hawaii. This job, which he has held since August 2018, has become increasingly important as Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger has focused his attention on reinvigorating the Fleet Marine Force and bolstering integration of the Marine Corps and the Navy. MARFORPAC has been the centerpiece of Berger’s attention as it relates to experimentation with concepts like Expeditionary Advance Base Operations, as well as new formations and new gear to support the operating concepts.

Craparotta was commissioned in May 1983 and commanded I Marine Expeditionary Force prior to taking command of MARFORPAC.

Relieving Craparotta at MARFORPAC would be Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, according to the announcement. Rudder serves as deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation, leading aviation acquisition and readiness efforts out of the Pentagon. He has served in this role since July 2017, overseeing the Marines’ incorporation of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter into routine operations, the acquisition of the CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter program, a renewed focus on depot maintenance and regaining readiness, and more.

Rudder was commissioned in June 1984 and has experience in the Pacific theater, having commanded 1st Marine Air Wing out of Okinawa, Japan, and served as the director of Strategic Planning and Policy (J5) at U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).

The next deputy commandant for aviation after Rudder would be Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, according to the announcement. Wise currently serves as the deputy commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) and assistant deputy commandant for combat development and integration at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. Wise joined the MCCDC staff in the summer of 2018 and has helped oversee a total transition in the service, as the Marine Corps charts a path forward to be lighter, more agile from the sea, more focused on small-unit operations and more.

Wise, a fighter jet pilot, has extensive experience in Marine Corps aviation, including serving as commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar from 2016 to 2018.

Additionally, Maj. Gen. Karsten Heckl was nominated to serve as the next commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force. Heckl currently serves as the commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point, N.C.

Maj. Gen. Dennis Crall was nominated to serve as the next director for command, control, communications, and computers (C4)/cyber and the chief information officer (J-6) on the Joint Staff. Crall currently serves as the senior military advisor for cyber to the under secretary of defense for policy.

Maj. Gen. David Ottignon was nominated to serve as the next deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs. Ottignon currently serves as the director of the Manpower Management Division in the Marine Corps headquarters staff.

Ottignon, Crall and Heckl would also receive promotions to lieutenant general in conjunction with their new jobs.

Nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general – with no new job assignments announced – are Col. Adam Chalkley, Col. Kyle Ellison, Col. Phillip Frietze, Col. Peter Huntley, Col. Julie Nethercot, Col. Forrest Poole III, and Col. Ryan Rideout.


Facebook Makes Commitment to Veterans During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 17, 2020


As a proud supporter of the military and Veteran community, Facebook is committed to providing Veterans with meaningful ways to connect with the people they care about. Today, Facebook donated 7,488 Portals to the Department of Veteran Affairs that will be distributed in pairs to wounded/at risk Veterans and their Veteran caregivers to help them stay connected with friends and family during these difficult times.  We hope that by using these Portal video calling devices, Veterans and their caregivers will feel less isolated and more present with their friends and family no matter where they are.

The donation is through a collaboration with the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Office and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network. Though discussions about this partnership began long before the COVID-19 crisis began, facilitating social connection for Veterans and their caregivers and families is more important now than ever, with many of these individuals experiencing further isolation due to social distancing measures.

The VA blog announcing the partnership and more details can be found here.

In addition, we thought you might be interested in this refresher on how to best keep your communities informed through Facebook products during this uncertain time. To ensure that VSOs are aware of Facebook’s many resources, Facebook is holding a webinar on best practices and new tools it has created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other ways that Facebook is helping in this time of need.  This webinar can give you guidance on how to best utilize Facebook to communicate with your community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • What: Webinar on Facebook best practices for VSOs and COVID-19 response
  • When: Thursday, April 23, 2020, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
  • Where: GoToWebinar
  • How: Register here for dial-in link and code

Please RSVP for this training by registering here and feel free to share this invitation with your networks.



FRCE Produces H-53 Fitting to Fill Supply Gaps

February 03, 2020


From www.navy.mil
By Heather Wilburn, FRC East Public Affairs
Feb 3, 2020

Model maker Chris McCoy, right, demonstrates to machinist apprentice Collin Grummert how to use a FaroArm coordinate measuring machine to verify the dimensions of a 522 fitting for an H-53 heavy-left helicopter. 

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (NNS) — When supply system shortfalls led to a work stoppage on two H-53 heavy-lift helicopters at Fleet Readiness Center East, the depot’s manufacturing and engineering teams stepped up to close the gap.

Manufacturing and material procurement issues prevented the helicopter’s original equipment manufacturer from producing the 522 fitting FRCE artisans needed to continue work on the aircraft, said David Rouse, an H-53 aircraft planner and estimator at the depot. The 522 fitting is vital to the function of the H-53 heavy lift helicopter; as one of the aircraft’s main structural supports, it carries the load for the helicopter’s tail and tail pylon – about 30 percent of its volume – during flight operations.

After several attempts to acquire the part through standard channels, the H-53 line turned to FRCE’s manufacturing branch for assistance – and the team came through. To date, they have completed one of the two fittings currently needed.

“These deficiencies would have driven the aircraft into long-term work stop, thus decreasing fleet readiness,” Rouse said. “To date, there has not been another manufacturer that has been successful in manufacturing the (fittings) within tolerances.

“The collaboration between FRCE’s Manufacturing and (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) Engineering branches continually provides resolutions to barriers, and workarounds when there are issues in the supply chain” he continued. “Their efforts here at FRCE have had a positive impact to H-53 readiness, and proves to the world that, in a time of need, FRCE and its teammates can make the impossible happen.”

Keith Linton, MRO Manufacturing branch head at FRCE, said his team often receives requests to manufacture parts. The request kicks off a process that involves a cross-disciplinary team of the depot’s artisans and engineers.

“The aircraft line will establish a need (for a) a fitting or a specialized part,” Linton explained. “If they can’t get it from Defense Logistics Agency or an outside source, they’ll contact our planning department and submit a request for us to manufacture the component. There are a number of steps in the manufacturing process, and with a critical safety item like this fitting, there are some additional measures to ensure the integrity of the part.”

Requests for parts that are not otherwise in high demand or are unique often get routed to MRO Manufacturing, Linton said, because they aren’t financially viable as products for commercial suppliers. Once the MRO Manufacturing Planning Department receives the request from the aircraft line, they start the process of procuring the necessary material; once that material comes in, a lab verifies its composition and it is prepped for usage. At the same time, the team begins working with engineers to verify the part’s model or drawings.

“Then it goes to the programmers, who write the program to manufacture the part, which gets sent down to the machine – in this case, the five-axis milling machine – and we begin the process of manufacturing the part,” Linton said.

Writing the program involves the transfer of the part’s measurements and specifications from the drawings into a computer-aided manufacturing file that assigns a tool path to the milling machine, which cuts the component out of a solid block of material.

“The program could take two to three weeks, sometimes a month, depending on how complicated the file is,” Linton said. “This 522 fitting is a pretty complex part.”

Once the file is transferred to the milling machine, the project becomes the property of the machinist, who sees it through until the milling is complete. While some parts have been turned around in as little as 24 hours, the complex 522 fitting took about 100 hours of milling time. That can mean long hours and weekend work for the machinists, and the team at FRCE always rises to the challenge, Linton said.

“A lot of people don’t know how much work these guys put into the parts, and how much they can sacrifice to get these parts done, so we can get the aircraft back in the fight,” he said. “They’re a dedicated team that really takes to heart their mission of supporting the fleet.”

Once the machining process is complete, it’s time to measure the resulting product to ensure it meets the standard. The machinists measure the product, and Quality Assurance conducts a round of measurements, as well.

“With a (unique) part like this, we machine it and hope it measures up when we get done,” Linton said. “Basically, we’re proving it out, and doing a prototype on the first run. If the first part isn’t correct, we have to make another one. We’ll go back in and make adjustments, make changes to the program.

“When we assign the tool path, there’s nothing guaranteeing you the machine is going to do exactly what we want it to,” he continued. “There are so many factors – different compositions of the metal, different tools, speed and feeds – and all these things can affect how the part gets machined.”

It usually takes at least one prove-out to get the part machined within acceptable tolerances, Linton explained. When the part is approved, that program is then used to manufacture others.

The machining process is just the first step in manufacturing a finished product. Once the machinist’s job is complete, the part goes through a litany of other steps that can include cleaning, non-destructive inspection, plating, paint, labeling and more. The entire process can take up to 200 hours of work.

“This part started as a block of aluminum. When it’s complete, it will have been through a team of artisans that put their work into it,” Linton said. “It’s not just go make me a part. It’s really involved – there is a lot of effort that goes into something like this fitting.”

For machinist apprentice Collin Grummert, assisting with the manufacture of the 522 fitting provided a unique learning opportunity.

“It’s my first time working on a part this complex,” he said. ““I’ve learned the step-by-step what goes along with these parts, with making them: roughing it out, making it, checking it, working with Quality Assurance and the engineers. I had a chance to learn about everybody that’s involved, and what goes along with it.”

Grummert works alongside Chris McCoy, the model maker responsible for shepherding the 522 fittings through the machining process. McCoy said there’s a prestige involved in being tasked with machining parts that are on the critical safety item list, and he’s proud to be able to step up for the fleet.

“Every little detail has to be just right. You’ve got to be on point, because if one of these parts fail, an aircraft could fail – that’s somebody’s life in your hands,” McCoy said. “There’s a big sense of pride and accomplishment that goes along with it. There’s really a satisfaction to it.”

FRCE is North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,200 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $835 million. The depot generates combat air power for America’s Marines and naval forces while serving as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.


ACT Resolution of Support

June 14, 2019


Yesterday, the Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) Board of Directors adopted the attached resolution.  In summary, the resolution calls on our General Assembly to protect military aviation from encroachment by industrial wind turbine developments.  Specifically:

ACT calls on the General Assembly, and especially Senators Brown, Davis, Perry, Sanderson, E. Smith, and Steinberg and Representatives Bell, Cleveland, Kidwell, Goodwin, McElraft, Murphy, Shepard, and Speciale, all of whom represent the counties impacted by military aviation training, to fully support efforts to stop wind turbine encroachment on military aviation training.

ACT Board of Directors:

Will Lewis, President
David Heath, Vice President
Christine Mele, Treasurer
Sonny Roberts, Secretary
Owen Andrews
April Aycock
Denny Bucher
Bob Cavanaugh
Millie Chalk
(Wm.) Fred Fulcher
Tyler Harris
E.T. Mitchell
Amanda Ohlensehlen
Danny Walsh
David Williams

Please contact Jamie Norment (jwn@wardandsmith.com) or ACT President Will Lewis (WLewis@havelocknc.us) if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.


ACT Wind Resolution