US Army 101st Airborne Utilize Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Facilities
US Army 101st Airborne Utilize Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Facilities

US Army 101st Airborne Utilize Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Facilities

Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina, has many assets both on and off the installation. One of these satellite training sites is Bombing Target 11 (BT-11) located at Piney Island, which has been in use since WWII. BT-11 is a bombing target range, available for use to units throughout the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and other federal and state agencies. U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, made the trip from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to use the BT-11 range, as well as Marine Corps Outlying Field (MCOLF) Atlantic for Operation Razor Talon.

Using AH-64E Apache helicopters, equipped with 30mm chain guns and 70mm rockets, pilots aimed for the targets, directed by U.S. Army Soldiers on the ground. Targets included, a stationary simulated convoy, a moving boat target and a stationary silhouette. The range provides moving boat targets, pulled by High-Speed Maneuverable Surface Target (HMST) boats, stationary water and land targets. The operation simulated an air-campaign against an enemy coastal defense force.

A 70mm rocket shot from a U.S. Army AH-64E Apache helicopter hits a stationary water target off shore of the Bombing Target 11 (BT-11) Range on Piney Island, North Carolina, during Operation Razor Talon, Nov. 17, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lauralle Walker)

The HMST is a remote controlled boat painted red to differentiate it between the white target boats it pulls through the water. All maintenance for the HMST boats is performed by the Sailors and contractors on Piney Island, the long-standing home of the BT-11 range. MCAS Cherry Point and its satellite facilities, such as MCOLF Atlantic and Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, are utilized by military branches across the Department of Defense, allied and partnered nations, and local civil organizations.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point or MCAS Cherry Point is a United States Marine Corps airfield located in Havelock, North Carolina, United States, in the eastern part of the state. It was built in 1941, and was commissioned in 1942 and is currently home to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Cherry Point remains one of the best all weather jet bases in the world. The air station and its associated support locations occupy approximately 29,000 acres. The heart of Cherry Point is its massive four-point runway system, which is designed to provide multiple approach and departure advantages to all aviators who have the opportunity to fly here. The air station’s runways are so long they served as an alternate emergency landing site for NASA during the years that the agency maintained a space shuttle program.

U.S. Army Solders prepare to perform post flight checks on an AH-64E Apache helicopter during Operation Razor Talon at Marine Corps Outlying Field (MCOLF) Atlantic, North Carolina, Nov. 17, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jacob Bertram)