MCAS Cherry Point Trains Marines to Become Air Traffic Controllers
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
At Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian employees work diligently to control the skies. Located in Havelock, N.C., Cherry Point is a 100 percent NATCA membership facility and the first DOD facility to become part of NATCA.
All 18 NATCA members who work at MCAS Cherry Point have prior military experience ranging from four to over 20 years. They not only provide air traffic control (ATC) services to military, commercial and general aviation aircraft within their part of the National Airspace System (NAS), but are also tasked with training Marines to become air traffic controllers.
“The purpose of having civilian air traffic controllers aboard the Air Station is to provide experience and continuity,” said NKT Facility Representative Terry Tolster. “We provide air traffic control service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. We are a very experienced group who know and do our job very well.”
Nearly 100 Marines will come through Cherry Point every year to receive On the Job (OJT) instruction. In this year alone, NATCA members have given over 5,000 hours of OJT instruction. Within a short period of time, Marines will receive ATC training in the control tower or approach control, obtain a couple of position certifications, and maybe even become branch certified, depending on how long they might stay.
Once their training is complete, the Marines then take the knowledge they learned and apply it to where they are next stationed or deployed in support of military operations.
“After that, the NATCA membership will continue to provide ATC services in eastern North Carolina and train Marines because that is what we do.”
As we commemorate Veterans Day, we’d like to send a special ‘thank you’ to our air traffic controllers who have served in the military or to those presently serving.