Air station increases local economy by $2.2B

11 May 2010 | Pfc. Tyler J. Bolken

According to Linda A. Lewis, the director of the air station’s command analysis and review office, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and the surrounding community are economically dependent on one another based on the station’s influx of people and the jobs it provides.

The air station and Fleet Readiness Center-East combined is the largest employer in Eastern North Carolina and continues to provide economic health and stability to the community, said Lewis.

The air station has been providing an economic impact summary brochure since 2000, in which it states the station’s economic growth each year.

During the 2009 fiscal year, the air station’s total economic impact in the local community was $2.2 billion, a 16 percent increase from $1.8 billion in 2008.

Lewis believes this is due in large part to an increase in the number of service members, an increase in utilities, and annual procurement.

The air station and its tenant commands employed a work force of more than 4,700 civilians, accounting for more than $6 million in salaries.

Local companies were awarded approximately $160 million in contracts for construction, maintenance and service contracts as well. With more than 9,800 service members stationed at Cherry Point, there are 9,800 potential restaurant customers, 9,800 possible homeowners and most likely, barber shops filled with service members on weekends.

With the national economic downturn, local businesses are able to depend on the consistency provided by the military. The co-owner of Mario’s Pizza, Umby Vaccaro, attributes 50 percent of his business this past year to the service members aboard Cherry Point. “My father-in-law came here from Brooklyn 25 years ago because of the base,” said Vaccaro.

The air station command analysis and review office makes an economic impact brochure to assist government officials, business leaders, civic organizations and local citizens in meeting, planning and development requirements. Their research demographics cover more than 56,000 people, which consist of both military personnel and civilians. Major counties include Craven, Carteret, Jones and Pamlico.

For more information on Cherry Point’s 2009 economic impact statement, visit

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point