Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Cunningham Field
Havelock, North Carolina in the United States
A U.S. Marine with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 and his family share a final moment together while walking toward a KC-130J Hercules aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point 130717-M-OT671-061.jpg
KC-130J Hercules of VMG-252 on the flight-line MCAS Cherry Point.
MCAS CPoint.jpg
MCAS Cherry Point is located in the United States
MCAS Cherry Point
MCAS Cherry Point
Location in the United States
Coordinates34°54′03″N 076°52′51″W / 34.90083°N 76.88083°W / 34.90083; -76.88083Coordinates: 34°54′03″N 076°52′51″W / 34.90083°N 76.88083°W / 34.90083; -76.88083
TypeMarine Corps Air Station
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defense
OperatorUS Marine Corps
Controlled byMarine Corps Installations – East
Site history
Built1942 (1942)
In use1942 – present
Garrison information
Colonel Mikel R. Huber
Garrison2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: KNKT, FAA LID: NKT, WMO: 723090
Elevation8.8 metres (29 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
14L/32R 2,736.7 metres (8,979 ft) Asphalt
5L/23R 2,588 metres (8,491 ft) Asphalt
14R/32L 2,559.7 metres (8,398 ft) Asphalt
5R/23L 2,495.7 metres (8,188 ft) Asphalt
Other airfield facilities5x V/STOL pads
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point or MCAS Cherry Point (*34°54′03″N 76°52′51″W / 34.9009°N 76.8807°W / 34.9009; -76.8807) (ICAO: KNKT, FAA LID: NKT) is a United States Marine Corps airfield located in Havelock, North Carolina, United States, in the eastern part of the state. It was built in 1941, and was commissioned in 1942 and is currently home to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.


Congress authorized Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point on July 9, 1941, with an initial appropriation of $14,990,000 for construction and clearing of an 8,000 acre (32 km2) tract of swamps, farms and timberland.

Actual clearing of the site began on August 6, 1941, with extensive drainage and malaria control work. Construction began in November just 17 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On May 20, 1942, the facility was commissioned Cunningham Field, named in honor of the Marine Corps' first aviator, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred A. Cunningham. The completed facility was later renamed Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, after a local post office situated among cherry trees.

Cherry Point's primary World War II mission was to train units and individual Marines for service to the Pacific theater. The air station also served as a base for anti-submarine operations, with an Army Air Corps (22d Antisubmarine Squadron) and later a Navy squadron each being responsible for the sinking of a German U-boat just off the North Carolina coast during 1943.

Cherry Point's contribution to the Korean War effort was to provide a steady stream of trained aviators and air crewmen as well as maintenance and support personnel as replacements to forward deployed aviation units.

During the Vietnam War, Cherry Point deployed three A-6 Intruder squadrons to the Far East and again provided a constant source of replacements for aircrews and enlisted aviation personnel.

In Operation Desert Storm, Cherry Point was a major contributor to the victory in Southwest Asia by supporting the deployment of three AV-8B Harrier squadrons, two A-6E Intruder squadrons, one KC-130 Hercules squadron, one EA-6B Prowler squadron, and headquarters detachments from Marine Aircraft Group 14, Marine Aircraft Group 32, and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Cherry Point Marines and Sailors participated in strike missions and follow-on operations in Afghanistan and its surrounding region during Operation Enduring Freedom, which was initiated on October 7, 2001.

On September 8, 2007, the headquarters building (198) was gutted by a fire.[2] The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Headquarters Building was on 29 July 2009, with completion planned for sometime in 2011.

The air station and its associated support locations occupy more than 29,000 acres (120 km2). Its runway system is large enough that the air station served as an alternate emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle launches out of Cape Canaveral, Florida.[3][4]

In 2013, Cherry Point hosted warfighters, technology teams and testers under the flags of 10 nations and each of the U.S. military services for the 11th Bold Quest coalition demonstration. The Joint Staff, J6 Joint Deployable Analysis Team (JDAT) led the test plan design, execution control, and emplaced the necessary infrastructure to connect the numerous geographic sites across seven states. Cherry Point was chosen for its ideal location for hosting East Coast military assets, two Navy ships, Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) and Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG-56).[5]

USAF use[edit]

On 1 July 1957 the United States Air Force 614th Airborne Control and Warning Squadron established an Air Defense Command Phase I Mobile Radar station (M-116) at Cherry Point. This station was part of the planned deployment of forty-four Mobile radar stations. The Air Force activated an AN/FPS-6 and two AN/FPS-8 radars located adjacent to Base Flight Operations. These radars were placed on top of 90-foot (27 m) towers without radomes, and initially the station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes.

In addition to the radars on the air station, two unmanned AN/FPS-14 "Gap Filler" sites, one at Engelhard, NC (M-116B) 35°29′49″N 076°00′34″W / 35.49694°N 76.00944°W / 35.49694; -76.00944 (M-116B) and one at Holly Ridge, NC (M-116C) 34°30′50″N 077°32′08″W / 34.51389°N 77.53556°W / 34.51389; -77.53556 (M-116C/M-115C) were set up for additional coverage.

One of the AN/FPS-8s was damaged by Hurricane Donna in 1960. The radars were turned over to the Navy on 30 April 1960, and the Marine Corps retained the other undamaged AN/FPS-8 radar for a number of years for base air traffic control.

During 1961 M-116 joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, initially feeding data to DC-04 at Fort Lee AFS, Virginia. After joining, the squadron was re-designated as the 614th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 March 1963. The radar squadron provided information 24/7 the SAGE Direction Center where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile.

Air Force radar operations continued at MCAS Cherry Point until 1 August 1963 when budget reductions and a general draw-down of antiaircraft radar sites closed the facility.[6][7]

Based units[edit]

Flying and notable non-flying units based at MCAS Cherry Point.[8][9][10][11]

Supported facilities[edit]

MCAS Cherry Point also maintains a satellite field at MCALF Bogue a manned installation in Bogue, Carteret County North Carolina at MCALF Oak Grove, an unmanned training field in Jones County and an outlying airfield at MCOF Atlantic in Carteret County with a skeleton crew near Atlantic, North Carolina. Several former outlying landing fields have been converted to regional airports, such as MCOF Greenville, MCAA Kinston, MCASE near Edenton NC and MCOF New Bern.

See also[edit]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^ "Airport Diagram – Cherry Point MCAS - Cunningham Fld (KNKT)" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Headquarters building badly damaged in fire at Cherry Point Marine base". New Bern Sun Journal. September 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-10.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ AirStaO 3121.1A Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine MARINE CORPS AIR STATION (MCAS) CHERRY POINT SPACE SHUTTLE SUPPORT PLAN (SSSP)
  4. ^ Beard, Steven D.; Leslie A. Ringo; Brian Mader; Estela H. Buchmann; Thomas Tanita. "Space Shuttle Landing and Rollout Training at the Vertical Motion Simulator" (PDF). American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Department of Navy Chief Information Officer Mobile - CHIPS Articles: Unprecedented in Complexity and Scope — Bold Quest 13-1".
  6. ^ Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.
  7. ^ "Information for Cherry Point MCAS, NC".
  8. ^ "Units". Marine Aircraft Group 14. US Marine Corps. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  9. ^ "MACG28 Units". Marine Air Control Group 28. US Marine Corps. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  10. ^ Kaminski, Tom (2019). "Aircraft of the US Marine Corps". US Navy & Marine Corps Air Power Yearbook 2019. Key Publishing. pp. 93–99.
  11. ^ "About Us". Fleet Readiness Center East. US Navy. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  • Shettle Jr., M. L. (2001). United States Marine Corps Air Stations of World War II. Bowersville, Georgia: Schaertel Publishing Co. ISBN 0-9643388-2-3.

External links[edit]

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point