Naval Air Station Patuxent River is situated on roughly 12 miles of shoreline on the Patuxent River in Maryland. Located 65 miles from Washington, D.C. and 75 miles away Baltimore, NAS Patuxent River overlooks Chesapeake Bay.
Find information about NAS Patuxent River, Maryland including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PSCing personnel, and inprocessing.
About Naval Air Station Patuxent River
When NAS Patuxent River was commissioned in 1943, Rear Admiral John S. McCain (chief of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics) described the new Naval Air Station as the “most needed” facility in the U.S. Navy at the time.
NAS Patuxent River, also referred to simply as “Pax River”, has been home to a variety of missions including flight and radio testing, experimental aircraft programs, and other research and design missions.
The Air Station is located on a peninsula where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Patuxent River and boasts more than six thousand acres.
The facility became necessary as Navy aviation expanded and became a more significant factor in Navy combat operations; the evolution of the Naval Air Station includes important developments such as the design and testing of Airborne Early Warning aircraft.
NAS Pax River is also responsible for developing a formal test pilot program that would prove invaluable for America’s space exploration efforts later on.
Today NAS Patuxent River missions include a variety of testing and research; outfitting aircraft with new digital flight control systems, electronic warfare, and updated avionics are all part of today’s work on the Air Station.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Mission & Units
NAS Patuxent River operations include Naval Air Systems Command and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division headquarters.
The NAVAIR Aircraft Division, one of two Naval Air Systems Command product centers, provides “aircraft, avionics, air-launched weapons, electronic warfare systems, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, launch and arresting gear, training equipment and facilities, and all air power equipment related to the Navy and Marine Corps” according to the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division official site.
NAS Pax River operates more than 160,000 air operations per year, with 140 different aircraft flying more than 700 restricted and 5,000 controlled miles. The Naval Air Station falls under Naval District Washington, which is described as “the quarterdeck of the U.S. Navy”.
Thanks to the Base Realignment And Closure Commission (see below) NAS Pax River hosts Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) as well as over 50 tenant units. There are three squadrons that support research and design as well as other operations. Those squadrons are Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 4, and Scientific Development Squadron 1.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River History
In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, United States Navy officials realized they would need more resources to support America’s involvement in World War Two. A new Naval Air Station was needed; Rear Admiral John Towers, the head of the Bureau of Aeronautics, got approval to begin construction on NAS Pax River in 1941.
Ground was broken in April 1942, and NAS Pax River was formally commissioned in April 1943.
The base’s research and design functions were assigned at the earliest stages of the Air Station’s existence, identified as a place to test experimental aircraft, equipment and material, and serve as a Naval Air Transport Service base for the east coast.
This mission brought more than 40 aircraft including seaplanes, DC-3s and DC-4. Flying missions at the time went from NAS Pax River to the British Isles, Brazil, and Africa. During this time, NAS Patuxent River contributed some important developments to the war effort including test-flying the first American all-jet powered aircraft, the XP59-A in 1944.
The NAS Pax River Flight Test Division began developing an informal test pilot school in 1945; that program proved a success, becoming formally recognized and funded, eventually becoming the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.
In the years to come this test pilot program would see graduates including Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Lieutenant Commander Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Lieutenant Commander Alan B. Shepherd, and Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Scott Carpenter.
If the names in that group sound familiar, it’s because they were among the first group of seven astronauts selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for America’s space program.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Contacts
NAS Patuxent River Main Contact Information
21993 Bundy Road
Patuxent River, MD 20670-1132
- (DSN) 312-342-4911
- Fax 301-342-4802
- Fax (DSN) 312-342-4802
NAS Pax River Contact Numbers
- NAS Patuxent River Operator 301-342-3000
- American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Communication 877-272-7337
- CAC/ID Card issue 342-1054/1058/7306
- CAC/ID Card issue 301-342-4952
- Command Career Counselor 342-1562
- Command Duty Office 342-1095/1096
- Dental Clinic (appointments) 342-1407
- NAS Patuxent River Quarterdeck 301-757-1096
- NAS Patuxent River Public Affairs Office 301-757-6748/3343
- Noise Hotline 866-819-9028
- Test Pilot School (301) 757-5041
- Marine Aviation Det (301) 342-1024
- Health Clinic (301) 342-1418
- NAVSUP Det Pax (Supply) (301) 342-3235
- ASTC Det Pax River (301) 995-4790
- Household Goods 757-9658/9660/9666
- Housing Welcome Center 342-3846
- Legal Assistance Services 342-7510
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Surrounding Area
NAS Pax River is surrounded by several small communities including:
- California, Maryland
- Lexington Park, Maryland
- Leonardtown, Maryland
California features championship-level golf courses and Sandyland Beach; Lexington Park is home to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum; Leonardtown is known for an annual oyster shucking contest and is also the location of Hummel Vineyards and Vault Field Vineyards.
Leonardtown also boasts the Westmoreland County Museum and Library, which preserves important moments in local area history. These local communities range in population from 1,100 to 11,000 residents or more.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Inprocessing and Check-In
NAS Pax River features a 24-hour check-in at the Command Duty Office (CDO), 301-342-1095, or the military member’s designated command check-in point. All inbound personnel must have their stamped at the check-in point to avoid being charged additional leave.
Following check-in, personnel must report to their Command Pass Coordinator with copies of the stamped orders, plus the member’s military service record, travel receipts and the member’s detaching endorsement FID (SH03).
Ten days paid lodging is permitted with receipts and must be taken between the losing base and NAS Pax River. Permissive TDY for house hunting is permitted but must be arranged via the member’s command admin office.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Services
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Medical Clinic
NAS Patuxent River is served by the NAS Patuxent River Health Clinic for primary care. Emergency care, urgent care, and inpatient needs are served by civilian facilities or via a military treatment center located in the boundaries of Naval District Washington.
Services provided by the NAS Pax River Health Clinic include but are not limited to:
- Dental (active-duty only)
- Exceptional Family Member Program
- Family Medicine
- Lab work
- Mental Health
- Military/Aviation Medicine
- Pharmacy services
- Physical Therapy
- Preventive & Occupational Medicine
The NAS Patuxent River Child Development Center offers full-time child care for infants six weeks through five years, and there is also a Child Development Home program at Patuxent River with licensed home daycare providers provided on the Naval Air Station’s housing areas.
Depending on the season, demand, and other requirements, it may be necessary to get on a child care waiting list. To do so, contact the Regional Resource and Referral Office at 1-855-204-9767.
ID Card Replacement And Renewal For Retirees, Dependents, Active Duty
ID card processing is available by appointment or on a space-available walk-in basis at the Gate One NAS Patuxent River ID Card Facility Monday through Friday. Reduced services from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. are common. Make an appointment online for best results.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Schools
NAS Pax River does not feature any DoD schools for children K-12, and the NAS installation welcome guide encourages parents to call the NSA Patuxent School Liaison Officer at 410-293-2641 to get help with finding the appropriate local public or private school in a Southern Maryland school district which include:
- Calvert County Public Schools – 301-535-1700
- Charles County Public Schools – 301-934-7221
- St. Mary’s County Public Schools – 301-475-5511
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Housing
Patuxent Naval Air Station features more than 700 on-base family housing units, with a waiting list up to three months long for enlisted members. Officers must contact the NAS Pax River Housing Office for availability.
Single and unaccompanied personnel have on-base living opportunities in seven buildings with more than 300 rooms. Off-base housing in the local area can be expensive and new arrivals are urged to contact the Housing Office (301-342-3846) for assistance before looking for a home in the local housing market.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River PCS and TDY Lodging
Single E-4s and below reporting to the base for a PCS move should report to Bachelor Quarters, E-5 and above are temporarily housed at the Navy Lodge or Navy Gateway Inns & Suites (NGIS) until permanent housing is located.
Those at NAS Pax River on transient orders should contact NGIS first; if no NGIS lodging is available a Certificate of Non-Availability is required to stay off base. Make reservations at 1-877-NAVYBED or dial the local number, 301-342-3601.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Transportation
NAS Pax River base taxi service was suspended in 2013 as a cost-cutting measure. Those traveling to the Naval Air Station are encouraged to use commercial taxis or other means and document those travel expenses as required to file via a travel voucher for PSC or TDY travel.
Additionally, those coming to NAS Pax River PCS or TDY may find no commercial bus, railroad or air services in the immediate area.
All airports are more than an hour away from the base and it may be necessary to arrange an airport pickup in advance. Taxi service from any local area airports may cost $150 or more depending on the time of day, traffic conditions, etc.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
Base decals are not required for motor vehicle entry to NAS Pax River, but all personnel are required to display current military ID for access.
All motor vehicles must comply with Maryland state law. Military members are not required to re-register or get Maryland license plates if it is registered in another state considered the service member’s home of record.
Vehicles registered to military members outside their home of record are required to register in Maryland or the home of record within 30 days after arrival.