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Inclement weather delays display of historic military aircraft at Cherry Point

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Heavy rains and high winds on tap this afternoon have canceled plans to move two historic aircraft to Cherry Point Thursday.

The EA6-B Prowler jet and the HH46-D helicopter both served the Marine Corps for more than 30 years.
They were used to help Marines complete missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to help people in eastern North Carolina during natural disasters.     
Modern technology makes them outdated, but the base wants to preserve them.
Tonight, they were supposed to be put on permanent display off the main road of the air station. But bad weather has pushed that back to a later date that has not been announced yet.

"The capability that we add to the air station and the local community, it's a very rewarding job. I'm proud to be part of this squadron that this aircraft on display will represent," said Maj. Charles Nunally, Pedro pilot.  

The Marine Corps says the two aircraft are still able to operate. But they stopped using them to make way for more modern aircraft.

--- Original Story ---

After decades of service, two historic aircraft are retiring to a new home aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

The EA-6B Prowler jet and the HH-45 Delta Sea Knight helicopter have both served the Marine Corps for more than 30 years.

Thursday night Cherry Point will put them on permanent display on base along Roosevelt Boulevard outdoors. The aircraft helped on missions as far away as Afghanistan, and even right here at home.

Sometimes when an aircraft goes out of service at Cherry Point, the Marine Corps has the aircraft destroyed.

"Normally an aircraft is sent to Jacksonville, down to Florida. They strip all the parts out of it, and then cut it up to razor blades," said David Peel, an aircraft manager at Cherry Point who used to repair the Prowler.

But the Marine Corps says the Prowler and the Sea Knight will be preserved because they have earned a spot in aviation history.

Since 1977, the Prowler has had nearly 9,000 flights, helping Marines complete missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's been a source of pride for me for 34 years that we've had it," said Peel.  "It's flown in Desert Storm, it flew over in Afghanistan, it's flown in Iraq, it's been on aircraft carriers, so it's quite a history of this jet."

While the Prowler served mostly abroad, the chopper stayed in eastern North Carolina, helping the community recover from disasters for 32 years.

Major Charles Nunally, a pilot for the modern version of the Sea Knight, said the HH-46D helped "with Hurricane Floyd relief, with search and rescue of downed pilots, [and] search and rescue of mariners in distress."

Now the Pedro and the Sea Knight will stay with the Marine Corps, for everyone on base to see.

"I'm just so happy to see it being put to final rest," said Peel.

The Marine Corps say the two aircraft are still in good working order, but they had to taken out of service so the Marines could complete missions with more modern aircraft.

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