ALLIES FOR CHERRY Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) is looking to expand its circle of allies by reaching out to citizens across the region, second home owners and vacationers to the Crystal Coast.
ACT President Greg Lewis, a former member of the Carteret County Board of Commissioners, said ACT’s purpose is to “be an advocate for our military assets” at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center East.
The military operations at Cherry Point combine to serve as the largest single employer of Carteret County residents. When you add up all the active duty military and civilian employees, retirees and family members, the total comes to 9,479 people who live in Carteret County that are dependent on Cherry Point’s payroll.
The regional annual economic impact of Cherry Point is nearly $2.05 billion to the four counties of Carteret, Craven, Jones and Pamlico.
The Marine Corps maintains three flight training facilities within the Carteret County boundaries – Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue (Bogue Field), BT-11 Piney Island (near Cedar Island) and Atlantic Outlying Field. All are vital to military readiness.
All military bases face uncertainties due to budget down-sizing within the US Dept. of Defense.
“Yet, Cherry Point is well-positioned with military construction dollars, some $180 million over the next four years, in the pipeline for Cherry Point,” announced Jamie Norment, an attorney with Ward and Smith, PA, of New Bern, who provides legal counsel for ACT.
“Longer term, it is possible that nearly $850 million will be spent on new construction at Cherry Point over the next 20 years,” Norment said. “Having strong support from ACT and our region will greatly increase our chances of successfully getting those funds programmed for Cherry Point.”
Lewis noted that Carteret County is represented on the ACT Board of Directors by: Millie Chalk of Duke Energy Progress; Robin Comer, the current chair of the Carteret County Board of Commissioners; Fred Fulcher of the Town of Pine Knoll Shores; David Heath of the Town of Newport; and Mike Wagoner of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce. Also serving on the board is Denny Bucher, owner of Family Tire & Auto Center, which has a store in Morehead City.
Learn more about ACT at www.alliesforcherrypoint.com.
Military is State’s Second Largest Industry
Hugh Overholt, a senior member of the Ward and Smith law firm, is a retired Army Major General. He served as the Judge Advocate General from 1985-89 and is a renowned authority on government affairs and all aspects of military law. He offers these pearls of wisdom:
• The Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard directly or indirectly employ more than 10 percent of North Carolina’s workforce. The military’s contribution to our state’s economy is nearly $32 billion; only agriculture contributes more.
• Except for state government, the US Dept. of Defense has more direct employment and financial impact on our state than any other single entity.
• Fleet Readiness Center East is the largest industrial employer east of I-95, providing more than 3,000 civilian jobs with an annual salary twice the national average.
• MCAS Cherry Point is the future site of the largest concentration of F-35B Joint Strike Fighters.
• Cherry Point provides air traffic control services for most of eastern North Carolina.
• Cherry Point is the headquarters for the 2nd Marine Air Wing.