Marc Finlayson wants people to know and appreciate what goes on inside the fence at Cherry Point.


Marc Finlayson wants people to know and appreciate what goes on inside the fence at Cherry Point.



“It’s kind of an imposing facility and a lot of people may not know what goes on inside the fence so we want to share some of that with the community,” said Finlayson, a consultant with the Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow advocate organization.



Toward that end, ACT is hosting “Community ACTion Gatherings” to inform the public about the air station and the Fleet Readiness Center East aircraft repair facility. Meetings are scheduled on five nights from May 14 to May 28 in Carteret, Craven, Jones and Pamlico counties.



“We want to show how important it is to not only protect the assets at Cherry Point, its missions and facilities, but also to the extent we can, to grow them to make Cherry Point and FRC East even more important to the military mission of the country,” he said.



He would like for people to know what ACT is doing in support of that mission.



“There will be a short PowerPoint presentation about Cherry Point and the kinds of things that are going on and that we are following and why we think they are important,” he said. “There will be remarks from some ACT leadership and also some folks from the communities that are part of ACT talking about why ACT is important to them and why they want to give their time and effort to support the organization.”



After the presentation, residents can mix and mingle with local community leaders and ask questions.



“We intend to protect and grow Cherry Point, and that means the air station and the FRC East,” Finlayson said. “That means we want to make the case for the missions that are there now and make the case for taking on even more missions and assets and being an even more indispensable part of our nation’s military system.



“Cherry Point is really a very important asset in our region and we need to be aware of how important it is. We want people to come away with an understanding that this is something that is worth protecting and worth growing and we’d like for them to go back into their communities and tell the story.”



Finlayson said that though there are concerns, Cherry Point will eventually host the largest number F-35B Joint Strike Fighters in the country.



“It’s the future of U.S. military aviation and because it is the fifth-generation aircraft that is going to replace all of the legacy aircraft that are now at Cherry Point, it’s imperative that we support that program and encourage the military to deploy that aircraft at Cherry Point as soon as possible,” Finlayson said.



The meetings are scheduled for: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 14 at the Isaac Taylor Gardens in New Bern; 7:30 to 9 p.m. May 15 at Brantley’s Village Restaurant in Oriental; 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 19 at Pollocksville Town Park; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 21 at the Train Depot in Morehead City; and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. May 28 at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.



For more information, go online to www.alliesforcherrypoint.com.