Havelock leaders hear Cherry Point's future still threatened

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 05:09 PM.

One of the important facets that makes Cherry Point of such immense value is its training ranges, like the BT-11 and BT-9 bombing ranges in Carteret County that are part of the Mid-Atlantic Electronic Warfare Range, said Jamie Norment, representing the Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow lobby group.

"If you lose the training fields, you lose the air station," Norment told commissioners.

The group considered several key lobbying points, including the placement of a $43.6 million Vertical Lift Fan Facility currently scheduled for fiscal year 2018, the timeline for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadrons, a proposal to place F/A-18 Growler electronic warfare jets at Cherry Point, a potential basing of more Marine Corps unmanned aircraft here, and use of Cherry Point for basing military surplus as overseas war efforts draw down.

"I think the things that we need to focus on are the things outside the gate that we have some control over," Mayor Jimmy Sanders said.

Those things include zoning near the base, encroachment around the base and implementation of sound attenuation regulations that reduce aircraft noise in new homes and businesses, things on which the city has taken action.

Rose said the city needed to develop a package about Cherry Point’s and Havelock’s assets, and circulate it widely.

"We need to tell our story first," Rose said. "He who tells their story first controls the narrative."

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