Cherry Point general pilots a piece of history

Gen Hedelund B25

Maj. Gen. Bob Hedelund, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, gives thumbs up as he is ready to take the controls of a B-25 during a flight at Cherry Point. The B-25 is scheduled to fly during the Cherry Point Air Show.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 06:50 PM.

For a gallery of photos of Thursday activities at the air show, click here.

Maj. Gen. Bob Hedelund has spent much of his career as a helicopter pilot, but he got a behind the wheel of a classic World War II bomber on Thursday.

Hedelund, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, flew around Cherry Point in a B-25 Mitchell just like the type that was once based here.

“Much of it is familiar to the plane that I flew, a CH-46,” Hedelund said after his 20-minute flight. “The aluminum’s the same. The rivets are the same. The ‘uncomfort’ of it is the same, but very different than say an F-18 or a Joint Strike Fighter. You really have to fly it. It doesn’t fly itself. You have to be on top of it all the time.”

The B-25 was one of the first aircraft placed on the base after it opened in 1942, about three months after Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.

“From what I understand, 70-plus years ago this was a B-25 base for quite a while, so it’s kind of nice to make the trip back here 70 years later and see it on the flight line again,” Hedelund said.

Squadrons of the medium bombers based at Cherry Point were then sent for duty in the South Pacific during World War II.

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