MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Cherry Point hosted a leadership tour April 11 for 19 Craven County residents to observe multiple work areas where many of the county’s residents are employed.
The tour is a recurring part of a program designed to teach community leaders more about the economic and social intricacies affecting life in the county. Many of its participants are business owners, professionals and influential community members who make decisions based on the business climate.
“The community needs to know what we do,” said Col. Philip J. Zimmerman, commanding officer of Cherry Point. “They are our neighbors, and we ask a lot from them, so it is good to give them a chance to come see the air station and what we do.”
While touring the air station, the participants viewed Marine assets that directly contribute to community safety. They toured an HH-46 search and rescue helicopter from Marine Transport Squadron 1, saw robots used by the explosive ordnance disposal team to investigate and defuse potential hazards, and toured air traffic control facilities used to direct aircraft in the region.
They also toured Fleet Readiness Center East, a large complex for high-level maintenance on all types of aircraft the Navy and Marine Corps flies. FRC East is the largest single employer of county residents. Cherry Point also employs Craven civilians at various other facilities. Between employing hundreds of local civilians and the spending power of thousands of Marines and dependents, Cherry Point has a large economic impact on Eastern North Carolina.
“This tour was a great opportunity for us to see key components on Cherry Point,” said Amy Murphy, a manager for Moen Incorporated in New Bern.
Murphy served as a logistics officer with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14 aboard the air station as a captain before leaving the Marine Corps in 2011. She said while stationed here she never took the time to really enjoy the beauty of Cherry Point.
“It’s really great to come back here and see how much the base has grown and developed just in the past two years,” she said. “I have also learned a lot about what the station has to offer to the community and that is a huge point to this tour. We are one family and this tour has brought us closer to the family.”