FRC East, dignitaries celebrate F-35 arrival at Cherry Point

Published: Monday, July 15, 2013 at 05:08 PM.

“This airplane is critical to the Marine Corps,” said Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr., Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation. “This is the future of tactical aviation in the Marine Corps, and we’re delighted to have it here at Cherry Point.”

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, referred to the signs around Havelock that say “Pardon Our Noise.”

“Today, that slogan has renewed meaning with the arrival of the F-35,” she said. “There is no better depot to perform these modifications. This is exactly the type of plane that we need to carry out our mission in the Marine Corps. We’re going to be busy here at FRC East for a very, very long time.”

Hagan said the region would continue to see an economic benefit from F-35 work for a long time.

“It is so important for an economic development, but also for national security,” Hagan said.

Harry Blot, a retired Marine general and test pilot who served as deputy commandant for aviation, said the F-35 represented the future of Cherry Point.

“It’s going to replace every airplane at Cherry Point, and with it comes the technology of the future,” he said. “Anytime a new aircraft arrives at an air station, the technology jumps ahead 10 or 20 years, and then you see the contractors come in and that’s money and jobs locally and things like that, so this is a huge day for us. It further protects us from any (Base Realignment and Closure) action that may take place. It is the cutting edge of technology and will be for the next 40 years.”



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