Updates | Cherry Point

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.





Female Airmen team up for Historic Launch

June 10, 2020


By Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey 301st Fighter Wing/Public Affairs

Historically, Air Force fighter pilots and maintainers were male, but the future looks a lot different as more and more females join the ranks of these career fields and make history while they do it.

Recently, Capt. Emily Thompson, an F-35A Lightning II pilot, made history as she flew in combat, making her the first female to do so in that airframe.

“This is my first deployment … so for me it was a pretty big deal, the first combat sortie for me. … Of course being the first female, it’s a pretty big honor,” she said. “There’s a lot of females who have come before me and there’s a lot of females already flying combat sorties in other platforms. So just to be the person who gets that honor, that first, it just meant a lot.”

Thompson’s childhood dream of what she would do was very different than her chosen career path.

“Standard childhood dreams were veterinarian and police officer,” she said. “From there, realistic dreams set in and I wanted to be an engineer. I went to college to be an aerospace engineer, which is what my degree is in. Then I sort of found out about the whole pilot thing, I could fly, instead of build the airplanes and it just kind of took off from there.”

It has taken Thompson time to get to this point in her career, which began as an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot.

After graduating college, she spent about a year and a half in pilot training for the F-16, completed a tour in that airframe, then went on to training for the F-35A, according to Thompson.

On the day of her first combat sortie, she had an all-female maintenance crew launch her off for the historic flight. Airman First Class Ashlin Randolph, a weapons load crew member, was one of a four-person team on duty for the historic launch.

“It was very empowering, it was awesome!”

Randolph, also on her first deployment, is new to marshalling jets. It was only her third time marshalling on the day of the launch.

“I always get really nervous, so I had medics, my lieutenants, and intelligence [personnel] and they were all females,” she said. “They were all there to support me.”

Randolph is new to the Lightning Technician Program, which allows F-35A maintainers to broaden their knowledge and experience on the airframe.

“The mission, as a whole, I think it’s really cool because the LTP program lets me load bombs and missiles and I also get to launch out the jet,” she said. “So it’s like we are getting all parts of the mission. I feel like that’s another thing that’s really inspiring because I got to load the bombs and missiles and I got to launch it out.”

After being involved with such a historic moment, Randolph gave advice to young girls.

“I would definitely say be confident and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you can.”

Thompson, who is a part of a small number of F-35A female pilots, looks to what’s next.

“I think it’s a bright future,” she said. “There is a number of us already in the F-35 and I think the number is just going to continue to grow. It’s a very supportive community, it’s very open, I think the opportunity for women to really excel in the F-35 is definitely there.”

Thompson encouraged young females coming up after her.

“Know there’s a lot of supportive people out there,” she said. “Just stay positive, work hard, and you can achieve whatever you set your mind out to do, you can get it done.”

Source: centcom.mil


Transformation, Modernization Underway for F-35

May 18, 2020


Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
COMMUNICATION STRATEGY AND OPERATIONS _____________________________________________________________________________________
ADVISORY No.: 20200514-001

MCAS Cherry Point: Transformation, modernization underway for F-35

MARINE CORPS STATION CHERRY POINT, NC (May 14, 2020)–Major military construction (MILCON) is underway to transform and modernize Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point into a key base for the future of Marine Aviation and its next-generation fighter aircraft.

More than one billion dollars of MILCON is planned through 2027 to make way for six F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) squadrons. The MCAS Cherry Point F-35 Program will require the complete recapitalization of antiquated aviation operations and support facilities to accept the squadrons over an eight-year period. The modernization program will entail projects to construct new aviation facilities, renovate outmoded facilities, overhaul installation infrastructure, upgrade utilities, improve roadways and enhance airfield security.

“The improvements planned along the flight line will endure for decades and provide the infrastructure and facilities necessary to support Marine Aviation,” said Facilities Asset Manager Don Elliott.

Planning, design and contract negotiation and awards for the program have been underway since 2009. The overall plan includes details such as:

  • Design and construction of three state-of-the-art, two-module aircraft maintenance hangars. Each hangar can support two squadrons. New construction of an air traffic control tower, range support facility, airfield operations building, F-35 simulator facility and aviation maintenance support facilities;
  • Demolition of a number of obsolete airfield and station facilities;
  • Construction and renovation of supporting facilities that will support maintenance personnel and functions; and
  • In depth enhancement of training capabilities;

Elliott stated, there have been three major projects awarded to date including improvements to flight line security, utility and infrastructure improvements along Sixth Avenue and the first two-module F-35 hangar. The projects will be closely followed by the construction of the new airfield operations facility, or air traffic control tower, and the F-35 Simulator Facility this summer.

The facilities asset manager added, there have been other smaller projects underway to help make room for those major projects, which include the planned relocation of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Communication Strategy and Operations, 2nd MAW Air Combat Intelligence, Marine Air Logistics Squadron 14 Individual Material Readiness List (specialized equipment storage facility) and Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 Supply. The relocation of the Central Issue Facility and subsequent demolition of warehouse 144 was also in support of the planned new facilities.

Three of the oldest flight line hangars (Buildings 130, 1700 and 1701) that once served as aviation operations and support facilities were demolished during the first and second quarter of fiscal year 2020, and has left a gaping, noticeable change to the flight line landscape.

According to the ROICC, the demolition project is complete and the cleared area is the future site for the new F-35 hangars.

“It is the first visible evidence a period of transformation is underway,” said MCAS Cherry Point Commanding Officer Col. Mikel Huber.

“The view along Sixth Avenue is wide open,” said MCAS Cherry Point Resident Officer In Charge of Construction (RIOCC) Lt. Cmdr. Dave Dreyer. “The $5.3 million demolition project has cleared the site for construction of the first of the F-35 hangars.”

The first hangar project, has been awarded and is currently in the design phase and construction is scheduled to start in the fall — a $105 million project.

“We’re planning for construction of the hangars and affiliated paraloft facility, which will bring a flurry of additional construction vehicle traffic,” said Dreyer.

Utilities upgrades and road construction

Next is an extensive construction project to upgrade a substantial amount of infrastructure and reconstruct one of the installation’s well-traveled streets. The contract has been awarded and construction is underway to upgrade the utilities along Sixth Avenue and to widen a portion of C Street.

The project will go in phases to lessen the potential impact on the community, said Huber, which begins with the extension of Fifth Avenue as a detour route once Sixth Avenue closes. The ROICC said work is already underway to clear the wooded area at the point where the extension will connect the two streets.

When Sixth Avenue closes, current parking options along the way will be inaccessible. The first of three parking lots in the plan will be added to support tenants of various buildings along Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

C Street will be widened from its intersection of Second Avenue to Sixth Avenue. The street’s widening is aimed at mitigating the effects of the changed traffic pattern and the anticipated increase in traffic volume along the route. According to the ROICC, a turning lane will be added to facilitate optimal traffic flow.

“The reality is there will be a period of inconvenience the air station will endure in order to achieve this significant step forward in capability,” said Huber. “We are hopeful that the phased approach to accomplishing the utility project will lessen the impact to the community.”

Transformation and modernization of MCAS Cherry Point is projected through 2027. Installation leaders and managers will provide periodic updates and applicable information as things progress. Find more information HERE.



2nd MAW Flyover Honors Healthcare Workers

May 08, 2020



Four U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers with Marine Attack Squadron 223 performed a flyover across hospitals in Eastern North Carolina, May 7, 2020. The flyover showed continued support to those working on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Cpl. Damaris Arias)

 From dividshub.net

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.