MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Dec. 8, 2011) --
The commands of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point held an open house at the general's residence aboard the air station Dec. 4 to strengthen ties with the local community.
The commanders and civilian leaders of the community mingled in the holiday themed social setting, helping facilitate a greater understanding between the two and how they rely on each other.
"Forty-one percent of the income for Craven County is derived from the military," said Daniel F. Walsh IV, a former Marine and a member of the Havelock Board of Commissioners. "Everybody around here is a Marine. The majority of our leadership in any function you want to go to in the Craven County area comes from the military. Our world in this little area is military based."
Just as the local community plays a role supporting the Marines, the Marines play a role in the local community, .
"They live out in our community," said Lee W. Bettis Jr., the mayor of New Bern. "They’re Boy Scout leaders, they’re volunteering at churches and they’re working with Habitat for Humanity. It’s not only the money that comes out of the Marines; it’s the quality of people and leadership. It affects the entire region."
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and its supporting air stations couldn't deploy on a moment's notice without the support from the community, said Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, 2nd MAW commanding general.
“The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing enjoys phenomenal support from our local communities, their elected leadership, law enforcement, emergency services, educators, business community and concerned and caring citizens.”
Davis added that the holiday social is just one way to say thanks and bring everyone together.
Long time citizens of the local community said military-civilian relations at Cherry Point are some of the best they’ve ever seen.
"I am absolutely awed by the amount of community support that’s available to the Marines here at Cherry Point," said retired Col. Jimmie L. Green, who retired out of Cherry Point in 1985 and have been living consistently in the community since then. "I don’t know that I have ever been at a duty station where the civilian community is so astoundingly in support of the Marine Corps as I have seen here.”