Annual fundraiser scheduled for tonight


The MV-22 Osprey is expected to be a main topic at tonight's Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation gala at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.

Havelock News file photo
Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 04:53 PM.

Indispensable. That’s how many describe rotor-wing aircraft in the modern Marine Corps.

“They are as important to the Marine Corps today as the rifle or the canteen,” said Ben Kristy, aviation curator at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Rotor craft will be the subject of the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation’s annual gala on Friday night. Master of ceremonies of the event is Tom Braaten, a retired major general and former Cherry Point commanding officer who flew helicopters in the Marine Corps. John Rader, a retired Marine colonel and Boeing executive, is the scheduled speaker of the event and will address the newest bird in the fleet, the MV-22 Osprey.

“The Marine Corps was the first service branch to openly embrace the helicopter,” said Kristy. “The helicopter becomes a crucial technology after atomic weapons become widely spread around the globe primarily because once the Soviets had atomic weapons we couldn’t do another Iwo Jima style amphibious assault. The landing fleet would have been to luring of a target, so the Marine Corps, in order to be able to continue its core mission of amphibious assault, had to find a way to get Marines from ship to shore while also disbursing the invasion fleet so you wouldn’t such a good target.”

The early helicopters were small, but the Marine Corps would see the potential for the development of larger craft and put the practice of delivering Marines ashore using helicopters during the Korean Conflict in the 1950s.

 “By the end of the Korean War, Marines had technology and property type helicopters to make this concept of vertical envelopment work in combat,” said Fred Allison, the Marine Corps’ oral historian at Quantico, Va. “The transformation was just fundamental for the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps led the way in the development of the helicopter.”

The various uses of the helicopter have been expanded. They carry cargo, personnel, mail and supplies along with supporting ground troops and extracting casualties.

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