Naval Air Station Patuxent River
Overview
"Pax River" redirects here. For the river, see Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

.


Naval Air Station Patuxent River , also known as NAS Pax River, is a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Naval Air Station
Naval Air Station
A Naval Air Station is a military airbase, and consists of a permanent land-based operations locations for the military aviation division of the relevant branch of their Navy...

 located in St. Mary's County
Saint Mary's County, Maryland
Saint Mary's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland.As of 2010, the population was 105,151. Its county seat is Leonardtown...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 on the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

 near the mouth of the Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

. It is home to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, and serves as a center for test and evaluation and systems acquisition relating to Naval Aviation
Naval aviation
Naval aviation is the application of manned military air power by navies, including ships that embark fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. In contrast, maritime aviation is the operation of aircraft in a maritime role under the command of non-naval forces such as the former RAF Coastal Command or a...

. Commissioned on April 1, 1943 on land largely acquired through eminent domain
Eminent domain
Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

, the air station grew rapidly in response to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

The base became a center for testing as several facilities were constructed throughout the 1950s and 1960s; including the U.S.
Encyclopedia
"Pax River" redirects here. For the river, see Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

.


Naval Air Station Patuxent River , also known as NAS Pax River, is a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Naval Air Station
Naval Air Station
A Naval Air Station is a military airbase, and consists of a permanent land-based operations locations for the military aviation division of the relevant branch of their Navy...

 located in St. Mary's County
Saint Mary's County, Maryland
Saint Mary's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland.As of 2010, the population was 105,151. Its county seat is Leonardtown...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 on the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

 near the mouth of the Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

. It is home to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, and serves as a center for test and evaluation and systems acquisition relating to Naval Aviation
Naval aviation
Naval aviation is the application of manned military air power by navies, including ships that embark fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. In contrast, maritime aviation is the operation of aircraft in a maritime role under the command of non-naval forces such as the former RAF Coastal Command or a...

. Commissioned on April 1, 1943 on land largely acquired through eminent domain
Eminent domain
Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

, the air station grew rapidly in response to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

The base became a center for testing as several facilities were constructed throughout the 1950s and 1960s; including the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (1958), the Weapons Systems Test Division (1960), and the Propulsion System Evaluation Facility. The base also served as the testing facility for the V-22 Osprey
V-22 Osprey
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, military, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing , and short takeoff and landing capability...

.

In addition to its role in testing naval aircraft, during the 1950s to 1970s Patuxent River served as an operational base for a Transport Squadron - VR-1, a TACAMO squadron - VQ-4, Airborne Training Unit Atlantic - AEWTULANT, and VW-11, VW-13 AN VW-15 and a number of Patrol Squadrons including VP-8
VP-8
Patrol Squadron Eight is a U.S. Navy land-based patrol squadron that was based at the Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, but is now stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida...

, VP-44, VP-49, VP-24, VP-30 and VP-68.

Since the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the Navy's Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure is a process of the United States federal government directed at the administration and operation of the Armed Forces, used by the United States Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations and realign the total asset inventory to reduce...

 measures have migrated research and testing facilities for both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft to NAS Patuxent River from decommissioned bases. The complex now hosts over 17,000 people, including active-duty service members, civil-service employees, defense contractor employees, and military dependents.

NAS Patuxent River is home to the Naval Air Systems Command
Naval Air Systems Command
The Naval Air Systems Command provides material support for aircraft and airborne weapon systems for the United States Navy. NAVAIR was established in 1966 as the successor to the Navy's Bureau of Naval Weapons . Current Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, is Vice Adm. David Architzel since May...

 (NAVAIR) Headquarters, the Air Test Wing Atlantic, and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Commands.

It was used as a filming location for the Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford is an American film actor and producer. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in...

 movie Random Hearts
Random Hearts (film)
Random Hearts is a 1999 film adaption of the novel of the same name. It is directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas.-Plot:...

(1999). Ford and director Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
Sydney Irwin Pollack was an American film director, producer and actor. Pollack studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he later taught acting...

 both visited Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Ford, a certified pilot, flew the aircraft himself.

Genesis

Situated on a peninsula between the Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

 and the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

, NAS Patuxent River is located on 6400 acres (26 km²) of what was once prime farmland
Prime farmland
Prime farmland is a designation assigned by U.S. Department of Agriculture defining land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and is also available for these land uses....

, consisting of several large plantations, Mattapony
Mattapony
Mattapony was a former hundred in Worcester County, Maryland.-History:Before the erection of Worcester County in 1742, Somerset County was, like other colonial counties, divided into "hundreds", including Mattapony...

, Susquehanna
Susquehanna
-In Pennsylvania:*Susquehannock tribe, Native American tribe of Pennsylvania*Susquehanna Bank*Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania*Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, a borough in Susquehanna County...

, and Cedar Point, as well as numerous tenant
Tenant farmer
A tenant farmer is one who resides on and farms land owned by a landlord. Tenant farming is an agricultural production system in which landowners contribute their land and often a measure of operating capital and management; while tenant farmers contribute their labor along with at times varying...

 and sharecropper
Sharecropping
Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crop produced on the land . This should not be confused with a crop fixed rent contract, in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a fixed amount of...

 properties and a few clusters of vacation homes. The Cedar Point community included several churches, a post office, and a gas station. Some of the old homes now serve as quarters for Navy personnel stationed there.

In 1937, the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics
Bureau of Aeronautics
The Bureau of Aeronautics was the U.S. Navy's material-support organization for Naval Aviation from 1921 to 1959. The bureau had "cognizance" for the design, procurement, and support of Naval aircraft and related systems...

 sought to consolidate aviation test programs, previously being conducted at several stations, including Dahlgren
Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division
The United States Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division , named for Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, is located in Dahlgren, Virginia and is part of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The NSWCDD was founded as the U.S...

 and Norfolk
Naval Station Norfolk
Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia, is a base of the United States Navy, supporting naval forces in the United States Fleet Forces Command, those operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian Ocean...

, the Washington Navy Yard
Washington Navy Yard
The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Southeast Washington, D.C. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy...

, Naval Air Station Anacostia in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, and the Naval Aircraft Factory
Naval Aircraft Factory
The Naval Aircraft Factory was established by the United States Navy in 1918 at Philadelphia in order to assist in solving the problem of aircraft supply which faced the Navy Department upon the entry of the U.S. into World War I...

 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. Cedar Point was selected due to its remote location on the coastline, well removed from air traffic congestion, with ample space for weapons testing.

Wartime urgency

The onset of American involvement in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 spurred establishment of the new air station. Rear Admiral John Henry Towers, Chief of Bureau of Aeronautics, requested approval and authorization to begin construction on December 22, 1941. Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox
Frank Knox
-External links:...

, gave approval on January 7, 1942 and construction began on April 4, 1942. Residents had about a month, until March 1, 1942, to relocate as the federal government purchased all the land at a cost of $712,287 for 6412 acres (26 km²).

A lack of transportation in Saint Mary's County led the Navy to revitalize a Pennsylvania Railroad
Pennsylvania Railroad
The Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad, founded in 1846. Commonly referred to as the "Pennsy", the PRR was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

 branchline from Brandywine
Brandywine, Maryland
Brandywine is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, although the postal delivery area includes part of Charles County as well near Malcolm....

 to Mechanicsville
Mechanicsville, Maryland
For the Census Designated area in Montgomery County formerly known as Mechanicsville see Olney, MarylandMechanicsville is an unincorporated community in St. Mary's County, Maryland. It is adjacent to the community of Charlotte Hall, which is known for its agriculture, Amish population, large...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 and build an extension south from Mechanicsville to the air station in 1944. Known as the U.S. Government Railroad, the rail line was steam-powered and operated south of Brandywine for exclusive official use until 1954, when it ceased operation. A highway extension to the new air station was required by the project—250,000 tons of material were transported by either truck or water routes during a year of construction.

Employing some 7,000 at its peak of construction, the area had very Gold Rush "boom town" feel as local residents were joined by workers from all over the country, eager to get on the high-paying jobs on station.

The Marines take charge

On 20 October 1942, U.S. Marines first arrived and took over security. Today, the station utilizes Navy Masters-At-Arms (MA) and Department of Defense Police
Department of Defense Police
Department of Defense Police, not to be confused with Pentagon Police, are the uniformed civilian police officers of the United States Department of Defense various branches of the United States Armed Forces . They are also referred to as DoD Police...

 for standard local law enforcement, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
The United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service is the primary security, counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, and law enforcement agency of the United States Department of the Navy...

 (NCIS) for high profile criminal investigations, and a contract security force for access control.

During construction, housing needs far outstripped supply, and barracks were built for workers on the station. Later, several housing areas were erected off station for workers and their families in Lexington Park
Lexington Park, Maryland
Lexington Park is a census-designated place in St. Mary's County, Maryland, United States, and the principal community of the Lexington Park, Maryland Micropolitan Statistical Area...

, formerly Jarboesville, named in honor of the USS Lexington
USS Lexington (CV-2)
USS Lexington , nicknamed the "Gray Lady" or "Lady Lex," was an early aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. She was the lead ship of the , though her sister ship was commissioned a month earlier...

, the Navy's second aircraft carrier, lost during the Battle of the Coral Sea
Battle of the Coral Sea
The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged...

 on 8 May 1942.

Dedication

The station was formally commissioned "U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland" on 1 April 1943. In a ceremony presided over by RADM John S. McCain, Sr.
John S. McCain, Sr.
John Sidney "Slew" McCain Sr. was a U.S. Navy admiral. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II....

, then chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics
Bureau of Aeronautics
The Bureau of Aeronautics was the U.S. Navy's material-support organization for Naval Aviation from 1921 to 1959. The bureau had "cognizance" for the design, procurement, and support of Naval aircraft and related systems...

, Patuxent river was referred to as "the most needed station in the Navy." The unofficial name had been Cedar Point or the Naval Air Station at Cedar Point, but officials were concerned about possible confusion with the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point or MCAS Cherry Point is a United States Marine Corps airfield located in Havelock, North Carolina, USA, in the eastern part of the state...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, so the new facility was named for the adjacent river.

Trapnell Field

On 1 April 1976, Patuxent River's air field was named after pioneering aviator VADM Frederick M. Trapnell
Frederick M. Trapnell
Frederick Mackay "Fred" Trapnell was a United States Navy admiral and aviation pioneer. Trapnell was the first Navy pilot to fly a jet aircraft, was considered the best, most experienced naval test aviator of his generation, co-founded the branch's first test pilot school, and played a pivotal...

, a
former commander of the Naval Air Test Center at the station. Keynote address speaker, ADM Frederick H. Michaelis, Chief of Naval Material
Office of Naval Material
In January 1942 the Director of Material and Procurement was appointed to coordinate all material procurement activities of the US Navy. In 1948 the office title was changed to Chief of Division of Material, and in 1984 to Chief of the Office of Naval Material. In 1983 title was changed to Naval...

, noted: "All who fly in Navy blue remain indebted to Vice Admiral Trapnell. This field will serve as a living reminder of that debt."

Tenant Commands

  • Naval Air Systems Command
    Naval Air Systems Command
    The Naval Air Systems Command provides material support for aircraft and airborne weapon systems for the United States Navy. NAVAIR was established in 1966 as the successor to the Navy's Bureau of Naval Weapons . Current Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, is Vice Adm. David Architzel since May...

  • U.S. Naval Test Pilot School
  • Scientific Development Squadron 1
    VXS-1
    Scientific Development Squadron ONE is a U.S. Navy military support squadron that conducts numerous single-aircraft deployments around the world in support of a wide range of scientific research projects.-Mission statement:...

  • Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20
    VX-20
    VX-20, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Twenty, is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.-Operations:...

  • Rotary Wing Test Squadron 21
    HX-21
    - History of the Patch :Legend has it the original Aircraft Rotary Wing Test Directorate patch was designed on the kitchen table of the first Test Director, Richard "Dick" Wernecke, and has remained in place to this day. Since that time, OPNAVINST 5030.4F has come into effect, changing the...

  • Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23
    VX-23
    Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland...


Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum preserves and interprets the Patuxent River Naval Air Base history and heritage of advancing US Naval aviation technology....


See: U.S. Navy Museum
U.S. Navy Museum
The National Museum of the United States Navy, or U.S. Navy Museum for short, is the flagship museum of the United States Navy and is located in the former Breech Mechanism Shop of the old Naval Gun Factory on the grounds of the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., USA.The U.S...

 and U.S. Navy Museum#Other Navy museums

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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