By Lance Cpl. Stephan Stewart, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – Hundreds of Marine officers gathered to listen to retired Lt. Gen. Philip Shutler speak about Marine Corps aviation.
The 85-year-old former Marine aviator and infantry officer spoke to the officers in attendance about the dynamic history of Marine aviation.
“The excellence in Marine Corps aviation has always been there,” said Shutler. “Marine Corps aviation will always be the best in the world.”
Shutler, who joined the Marine Corps in 1947, spoke to those gathered about what makes the Marine Corps unique, evoking historical examples from World War II, Korea and today. He said the Marine Corps is uniquely suited to integrate ground attack with close air support and pointed to recent events in Afghanistan and Libya as evidence to the dynamics of Marine aviation.
“It was an honor to hear from a retired Marine about Marine Corps aviation,” said Capt. Eric D. Albright, an AV-8B Harrier pilot with Marine Attack Squadron 223. “He knows from personal experience the success of Marine aviation.”
Albright returned just weeks before from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. He said it was a privilege to be able to hear Shutler’s wisdom and relate it to his recent experiences in combat.
Shutler served as a platoon leader and as a reconnaissance company commander in Korea. He was designated a Naval aviator in 1952 and served in various fighter and attack squadrons throughout his career before retiring in 1980 as director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, commanding general for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, met Shutler at a function in Washington and invited him to come speak at Cherry Point.
“The amount he has accomplished in his time in the Marine Corps is motivating to all the junior Marines here,” said Davis.