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News | Dec. 27, 2017

DJAG Trip Log: Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md.

By Rear Adm. John G. Hannink

Last month, the Naval Legal Service Command command master chief Jondell Ritchie and I visited JAG community personnel stationed at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

I gain enlightening insights from all of my site visits, and this trip was no different. Our first stop on base was the branch office of Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington. Although this is a small legal office, it has a very big impact. The installation staff judge advocate takes on a role as critical as any other staff judge advocate in locations around the globe. I had the pleasure of meeting with NAS Patuxent River commanding officer while Master Chief Ritchie met with the installation command master chief. They expressed great satisfaction with the support they’re receiving from the JAG community. I then met with a member of our Reserve Law Program who currently serves as the staff judge advocate for Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).

The installation is home to NAVAIR headquarters, the principal provider for naval aviation, which includes the U.S. Naval Pilot School and the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Test Directorate. Master Chief Ritchie and I also received a guided tour of the air traffic control tower. This offered us an exceptional view of the base, which is almost completely surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay. We learned that the installation has a very unique air space and employs some extremely impressive Navy enlisted controllers. After lunch, we were provided a presentation on the MQ-4C Triton Airspace Status by the Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office at NAVAIR. This was particularly exciting because it offered a glimpse into the future of UAS. We left NAS Patuxent River having learned a great deal and with a renewed appreciation of our organization’s contributions to the aviation community. As always, we were encouraged by and grateful for the hard work being done by JAG community personnel in the field. The team at NAS Patuxent River is doing great things!
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