Since September 1941, Camp Lejeune (luh-jern) has been the home of Expeditionary Forces in Readiness, and throughout the years, it has become the home base for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Logistics Group and other combat units and support commands.
The base and surrounding community is home to an active duty, dependent, retiree and civilian employee population of approximately 170,000 people. The base generates almost $3 billion in commerce each year, coming from payrolls and contracts to support the structure required to train and equip our modern Marines.
Camp Lejeune is a six-time recipient of the Commander-in-Chief's Award for Installation Excellence. This award recognizes the base on a Department of Defense level for effectively managing assets and developing quality programs to accomplish the mission of providing expeditionary forces in readiness.
It is said that the name "Cherry Point" comes from a post office established in the area for the Blades Lumber people some years ago. The post office was closed in 1935. The original "Point" was on the south side of the Neuse River east of Hancock Creek, and the word "Cherry" came from the cherry trees that at one time grew on the point. 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 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.
The December attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese lent urgency to the completion of the complex, located in Craven County between New Bern and Morehead City.
Cherry Point is one of the best all weather jet bases in the world. The air station and its associated support locations occupy more than 29,000 acres. Its runway system is so large that the air station serves as an alternate emergency landing site for the space shuttle launches out of Cape Canaveral, Fla.
As a testimony to the Station's on-going quality of life initiatives and responsible community outreach efforts, MCAS Cherry Point received in March the Commander-In-Chief's Installation Award for fiscal year 2003. The Station has claimed the title an unprecedented seven out of the last 15 years.
MCAS Cherry Point Mission
To provide the highest quality aviation facilities, support, and services to promote the readiness, sustainment and quality of life for Marines, Sailors, Civilian Marines, Family Members and others associated with MCAS Cherry Point.
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base occupies over 3,300 acres (13km) in the southeast section of Goldsboro. Seymour Johnson Field was opened in April 1942 as Headquarters, Technical School,Army Air ForcesTechnical Training Command. In June 1943, a secondary mission was added which included preparation of officers and men for overseas duty. The unit was known as the Provisional Overseas Replacement Training Center. Seymour Johnson Field received a third mission in September 1943: to provide basic military training forcadetspreparing to become technical officers in the Army Air Corps. The 75th Training Wing was established to conduct the program through its Aviation Cadet Pre-Training School.
Interestingly, the namesake of the base, Seymour Johnson, was never part of the Air Force (or the Army, of which the Air Force was initially a branch). He was a local man who became a Navy test pilot and died in a plane crash in 1940, just before the US entered World War II. There is a historical plaque honoring him at the main gate entrance of the base.