Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River is one of the military bases established under the command of the United States Navy. It is often referred to as NAS Pax River. It is located in the southern part of Maryland, in Saint Mary’s County. The name of the base comes after the nearby river Patuxent River, whose mouth is in the immediate proximity. It is one of the most important bases run by the US Navy due to the Test Pilot School on site. The base also starred in one of Harrison Ford’s movies. “Random Hearts”, which was released in 1999, presented Harrison Ford flying a plane himself, as he is a certified pilot.
The history of NAS Patuxent River begins on the Fool’s Day. It was established on April, 1-st, 1943. Although World War Ii was already at its peak, the base quickly grew to become one of the main players. Prior to the construction, the land belonged to local farmers. The place was not entirely erased. Some of the old homes were actually kept to serve the US Navy necessities. The construction was approved a few weeks after the Pearl Harbor attacks, but was delayed until the summer of 1942. The place helped Saint Mary’s County improve a little and increase its value. Since the transportation was not that advanced in the area, the authorities worked on a few railroads and some new streets. The construction was fast. There were more than 7,000 workers struggling to finish it as soon as possible. It came as a great employer in the area. People from Saint Mary’s County and the nearby counties rushed to get a job at the high paying installation. At the time the construction was over, the new station was referred to as the most significant military base of the US Navy.
The US Marines arrived on site before the base was done. They came in a few months after the construction actually began. They joined for security measures. These days, the security is operated by the MA (Masters at Arms), the Department of Defense, the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigation Service) and a few contractors. During its first weeks, the base was named Cedar Point, but the authorities were concerned about the potential confusion with a different base from North Carolina, so the name was later changed.
Exactly 33 years after the groundbreaking ceremony, the airfield on site was renamed in the memory of Frederick M. Trapnell, one of the local commanders.
NAS Patuxent River is also popular for the local museum, which presents the living history of the US Navy technology and aviation. Other than that, it is an open book to the local history of the base. The museum doesn’t host just old aircrafts and artifacts, but also documents, photos, testimonials and movies.
There are six major tenant units hosted at NAS Patuxent River. The Air System Command, the Test Pilot School and the Scientific Development Squadron 1 are the most important ones. There are also a few less significant and temporary units deployed there.