Cherry Point welcomes students for tour of base


Student Jordan Sewell looks out the window of a KC-130J during a school tour Thursday at Cherry Point.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM.

More than 100 second-graders from Brinson Memorial Elementary School got quite the unusual field trip Thursday — the opportunity to see and explore a variety of Marine Corps aircraft and to learn about daily operations at the Provost Marshal’s Office at Cherry Point.

To many of the children, the station tour was more than just getting out of their classrooms for the day; it was an opportunity to understand what their parents do at work.

The students’ day began with a visit to the hangar of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, a KC-130J squadron that holds the distinction of being the Marine Corps’ oldest continually active squadron. After unloading from the two buses, the masses of children were greeted by the squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. John Butler. Butler, who had visited the second-graders the day before to tell them about the different aircraft, quizzed them to see what they remembered and gave out squadron coins as a prize.

After breaking into groups, the students were able to see and climb on the different fixed-wing, rotary-wing and powered-lift aircraft that had been parked on the flight line, such as the AV-8B Harrier, CH-53 Super Stallion, the EA-6B Prowler, the KC-130J Hercules and the HH-46E Sea Knight.

“This gives the kids the opportunity to see the day-to-day life many of them may not have understood,” said First Lt. Joshua Soltan, the adjutant for VMGR-252. “It’s a blessing to have them here. … They are part of our community.”

Some of the students had the added bonus of their parents taking time off their on-station jobs to come out and visit with their children.

“It’s a cool place to come,” said second-grader Codi Mann, who was joined by her mother, Gunnery Sgt. Dixie Mann. “It’s like a new world, seeing the planes and helicopters up close. I’ve never been to where I can see the airplanes on the ground. It feels kind of awesome. I always wanted to be a Marine when I grew up.”

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