Marines Begin Flight Operations at Cherry Point, 1942

A post card showing planes lining up on the tarmac at Marine Corps Station, Cherry Point.

On March 18, 1942, flight operations began at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Craven County with the landing of a Grumman J2F “Duck” amphibian.

The base was established just a few years earlier, after the Marine Corps conducted a search up and down the U.S. East Coast for a suitable site for an air station. After Congressman Graham Barden helped secure $40 million for construction in 1941, the base grew quickly, becoming a self-contained city of 20,000 within a few months.

As the U.S. involvement in World War II ratcheted up, so did the size and scope of Cherry Point. It was the home of the 3rd and 9th Marine Aircraft Wings during the war and has been the home of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing since 1946.

Troops from Cherry Point have taken part in every major military engagement since 1941 and the base is the largest Marine airfield in the world today.