MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- The roar of aircraft engines and the smell of sweet funnel cakes filled the air as more than 200,000 visitors walked the flight line during the 2016 MCAS Cherry Point Air Show – “Celebrating 75 Years” at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, April 29, 30 and May 1.
It was Cherry Point’s biggest show in memory, featuring more than 20 aerial performers and 35 flight line displays and a free concert performed by country music singer John Pardi. Civilian and military performers came together to celebrate the 75th anniversaries of both MCAS Cherry Point and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Air show organizers believe this show had the most comprehensive lineup of military flight demonstrations ever, featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, F-35B Lightning II, AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet, CH-53E Super Stallion and the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18. Many other combat aircraft including the MV-22B Osprey, UH-1Y Huey and AH-1W Super Cobra, wowed the crowds during the ever popular Marine-Air Ground Task Force demonstration.
No air show would be complete without an impressive lineup of vintage war birds and nimble aerobatic aircraft twisting and turning in front of the crowds and sitting on display on the crowded flight line.
The various aircraft displayed their combat capabilities and impressive maneuvers to thousands while flying over show center.
“I came to the air show 23 years ago and I haven’t been able to come since then, so when I heard they were having it this year through Facebook, I decided to go,” said Elizabeth Ewing, an air show patron. “I have loved it each time and I plan to come to the next one.”
While at the show, Ewing enjoyed looking at the many different aircraft and spending time with her family.
“My favorite part of the air show was the Blue Angels, the F-35B and the Raptor,” said Ewing.
While the show was for the shear enjoyment of all patrons, it was also a chance for the Marines to thank the community for their year-round support.
“I’ve had a lot of fun with the public today helping them learn more about the aircraft and our mission,” said Staff Sgt. James Holmes, the ground safety manager with Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 302. “Most people don’t understand the Marine Corps’ mission and how we execute it. I would impress upon people to come out to these air shows because now-a-days its more than just aircraft flying around and doing barrel rolls. Today, and over the last couple of days, [the public] saw the Marine Corps and how it operates; the ground-side and the air-side and how we work together,” said Holmes during the Sunday show.
Marines from surrounding bases joined those at MCAS Cherry Point to present the air show to the public.
“Everything that you see here, including the aircraft, trucks, reconnaissance Marines and the M1 Abrams tank, all work together as a MAGTF,” said Holmes. “If you were to knock on the Marine Corps’ door, all of these vehicles and equipment will be what answers, and that’s very important to understand. The best thing about the MAGTF demo was the importance of all of us working together.”
It takes months of planning and thousands of hours of work from hundreds of service members, civilian employees, volunteers, sponsors, and the air show performance industry at large to make an event like this happen. In the end, according to show organizers, it was that same teamwork spirit that pulled all of the many moving parts together to make this Cherry Point's most successful air show ever.
With the shows biennial schedule, plans are already underway for the next air show currently scheduled for 2018. For updates visit, www.cherrypointairshow.com, www.facebook.com/theairshow or www.twitter.com/CPAirShow.