Reliance on Marine Corps Base Fuels BRAC Worries
Even though the region’s latest calculation of the economic impact of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point dropped somewhat from past years, the enthusiasm of officials in coastal North Carolina for the base has not waned.
“Whether you use the old calculations and say the impact is $6 million a day or the new ones that call it $5 million a day, it’s still the biggest economic engine we’ve got anywhere around,” Havelock Mayor Jimmy Sanders told encToday.com.
With talk of another BRAC round looming, though, protecting Cherry Point’s mission is a pressing concern. One worry is the Marine Corps’ transition from the AV-8B Harrier to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, even though eight squadrons of the new aircraft are slated to be based at the installation.
“[Allies for Cherry Point Tomorrow] and the community can read the tea leaves and know there is going to be a reduction in the defense budget,” a former official of the region’s support group for Cherry Point told encToday. “We have to be very concerned.”