| MCAS Cherry Point History
It is said that the name "Cherry Point" comes from a post office established in the area for the Blades Lumber people some years ago. The post office was closed in 1935. The original "Point" was on the south side of the Neuse River east of Hancock Creek, and the word "Cherry" came from the cherry trees that at one time grew on the point.
Congress authorized Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point on July 9, 1941, with an initial appropriation of $14,990,000 for construction and clearing of an 8,000-acre tract of swamps, farms and timberland.
Actual clearing of the site began on August 6, 1941, with extensive drainage and malaria control work. Construction began in November just 17 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The December attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese lent urgency to the completion of the complex, located in Craven County between New Bern and Morehead City.
On May 20, 1942, the facility was commissioned Cunningham Field, named in honor of the Marine Corps' first aviator, Lt. Col. Alfred A. Cunningham. The completed facility was later renamed Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, after a local post office situated among cherry trees.
Cherry Point's primary World War II mission was to train units and individual Marines for service to the Pacific theater. The air station also served as a base for anti-submarine operations, with an Army Air Corps and Navy unit each being responsible for the sinking of a German U-boat just off the North Carolina coast during 1943.
Cherry Point's contribution to the Korean War effort was to provide a steady stream of trained aviators and air crewmen as well as maintenance and support personnel as replacements to forward deployed aviation units.
During the Vietnam War, Cherry Point deployed three A-6 Intruder squadrons to the Far East and again provided a constant source of replacements for aircrews and enlisted aviation personnel.
In Operation Desert Storm, Cherry Point was a major contributor to the victory in Southwest Asia by supporting the deployment of three AV-8B Harrier squadrons, two A-6E Intruder squadrons, one KC-130 Hercules squadron, one EA-6B Prowler squadron, and headquarters detachments from Marine Air Group 14, Marine Air Group 32, and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
In response to the September 11th terrorist attacks on Washington D.C. and New York City, Operation Enduring Freedom was initiated on October 7, 2001. In keeping with the current administration's policy to take the fight to all terrorists and to those that harbor terrorist activity, Cherry Point Marines and Sailors have and are currently participating in strike missions and follow-on operations in Afghanistan and its surrounding region. Harrier, Prowler and KC-130 squadrons continue to answer the call for air support in the war-fighting effort. Marine Wing Support Squadrons and Marine Air Control Group personnel have also deployed to the region with our East Coast Marine Expeditionary Units.
Cherry Point is one of the best all weather jet bases in the world. The air station and its associated support locations occupy more than 29,000 acres. Its runway system is so large that the air station serves as an alternate emergency landing site for the space shuttle launches out of Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Cherry Point is home to Marine Transport Squadron 1, which includes the well-known search and rescue unit affectionately referred to as "Pedro." In addition to its military search and rescue duties, Pedro also serves the local community with its medical evacuation and search and rescue capabilities.
As a testimony to the Station's on-going quality of life initiatives and responsible community outreach efforts, MCAS Cherry Point received in March the Commander-In-Chief's Installation Award for fiscal year 2003. The Station has claimed the title an unprecedented seven out of the last 15 years.