Launching Ideas ... Recovering History
The Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) process has had a huge impact on the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The effects of all those changes will be the subject of the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum Association program “Life in St. Mary’s County Before and After BRAC,” set for Sunday, April 17, 3-5 p.m. at the museum.
The NAS Patuxent River today employs over 20,000 civilians and military staff, but it didn’t always. A large part of its economic impact today can be traced to the Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) process, which began in 1989 and has had four more rounds of base closings since.
In the process, Pax River has added programs and people from Warminster, Pa.; Lakehurst, N.J.; Trenton, N.J.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Wright Patterson Air Force Base. In 1997, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) arrived from Crystal City, Va.
Three notable county citizens will be on the panel:
l John Hanson Briscoe, former circuit court judge and speaker of the Marylkand House of Delegates. A native of St. Mary’s County, Judge Briscoe served in the House of Delegates from 1962 to 1979, the last six as speaker, and then as circuit court judge from 1986 until his retirement in 2002. He has been chair of the St. Mary’s City Commission and president of the Historic Sotterley Board of Trustees, and is currently president of the St. Mary’s County Historic Society.
l Jack Gelrud, who came to St. Mary’s County in 1948 after service in the U.S. Army, where he earned two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, he opened his first pharmacy in Lexington Park in 1949, and then his second in Leonardtown in 1955. Now retired, Gelrud and his wife Sue work with charitable organizations locally.
l Bob Waxman, senior consultant at The MIL Corporation, was one of the original employees at Webster Field in St. Inigoes. A graduate of the University of Maryland and George Washington University, he is recipient of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award.
“St. Mary’s County Before and After BRAC” is part of the PRNAM series of programs commemorating the 100th year of naval aviation. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, email the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.