MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (April 28) --
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point opened its gates to a group of local teenagers April 14, allowing them to see with their own eyes how the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and air station operates.
The teens visited the aircraft control tower, Marine Transport Squadron 1, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366, the military working dog unit, the Stinger simulator at 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion and ate lunch at the mess hall.
“April is the month of the military child, so we wanted to do something so that teenagers could not only experience what their parents get to experience but also as a thank you to them by allowing the teens to get out and explore their community,” said Carla F. Okorn, teen-access event coordinator and a training and curriculum specialist for Marine Corps Family Team Building. “Not only did they get a chance to see what their parents do, but they also had an opportunity to go out there and see a potential career for themselves and learn about their community.”
The teens were able to experience an informative tour of each squadron they visited. At the tower, they learned about the radar systems, the weather center and the air traffic controllers. At VMR-1, they learned about the squadron’s search and rescue operations. At HMH-366, they learned that the CH-53E Super Stallion has the power of several top-sports cars combined.
The military working dogs showed off what they could do when provost marshal officers dressed up in protective suits allowing the dogs to attack and take them down. VMGR-252 had a KC-130J on display for the teens to tour inside and out. 2nd LAAD showed the teens how to shoot down hostile aircraft with the Stinger surface-to-air missile in a simulator. After the demonstration, the teens were allowed to shoot down simulated targets as well. To top it off, Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 took the children for a ride in a 7-ton truck on the muddy Piranha Pit trails.
The teens left with a new understanding of what goes on behind the gates at Cherry Point.
“We learned what our parents do if they’re in the military,” said Coty M. Haviland, 15, one of the teens on the tour. “It’s good to get a look at what our parents are doing in everyday situations.”