MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Oct. 26, 2011) --
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and its tenant commands held a ceremony to officially name the combined headquarters building on the command parade deck Friday.
The new headquarters building, completed in March, is the most prominent building on the air station. The name chosen for the building is a dedication to the memory of Gen. Christian F. Schilt, a Marine aviator with ties to the Cherry Point community. Schilt’s family attended the ceremony.
The old headquarters building was destroyed in a fire Sept. 8, 2007. Construction of the new building began July 2009 and was completed March 2011.
“As the senior representative for Naval Facilities Engineering Command at Cherry Point, I can’t help but feel like a proud father announcing the arrival of a new 80,000 square-foot-child,” said Navy Cmdr. Kevin K. Juntunen, resident officer in charge of construction. “We hope the facility that we have given to you is worthy of the name, Gen. Schilt and all that he did for the Corps and our country.”
Funding was allotted for new construction almost immediately after the fire. The designs called for a building that would be both aesthetic and functional in design. With the recent collapse of the housing market, construction companies competed vigorously for the rights to the contract. As a result, the company that won promised a cost of $14 million, half of what it previously was projected to cost.
Schilt’s daughter, Alice Magee, delivered the keynote address and spoke about what kind of a Marine her father was. Magee said if she had to use one word to describe him, she would say, “honorable”. Schilt was always there for his Marines and his family.
Schilt was awarded the Medal of Honor for performing the first casualty evacuation in aviation history according to Brie Lehew, the Cherry Point historian. When Magee lost her husband, another aviator, her father was there for her.
“Thank you for being here today,” Magee said to the nearly 300 people in attendance. “I can’t tell you how much it means to us all to see you here at the dedication at this astonishing state-of-the-art building, headquarters of the Marine Corps Air Station and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, and to think it will bear my father’s name, Christian F. Schilt.”