NAWCAD Sailors clear trash from community roadside

Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Sailors gather for a photo Aug. 21 after volunteering to pick up trash along both sides of a 1.3 mile stretch of Pegg Road, outside Gate 2. NAWCAD participates in the St. Mary’s County Adopt-a-Road program.

Thirty Sailors from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) demonstrated their commitment to service by volunteering their time to pick up trash along both sides of a 1.3 mile stretch of Pegg Road on Friday, Aug. 21.

The roadway had been adopted by NAWCAD Command through the St. Mary’s County Adopt-a-Road program, wherein NAWCAD signed a contract to clean up their adopted stretch for a two-year period, and at least four times per year. Though the contract was originally signed in March, COVID-19 restrictions kept the group from being able to conduct a clean up until now.

“I worked with the county to pick up the supplies: safety vests, plastic bags, trash grabbers and the safety signs I had to post at either end of the clean up [while it was in progress],” explained event coordinator Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Dale Koch. “We mustered at 0715, had a safety brief, and then got started cleaning up.”

The Sailors, sweeping the sides of the roadway between Midway and Chancellors Run, collected enough litter to fill 80 of the large 33-gallon trash bags provided by the county.

“There was a lot of fast food trash and bottles,” Koch noted. “When we finished, we stacked the filled bags and supplies under the highway sign that shows the road was adopted by NAWCAD, and the county was scheduled to come by later to collect it all.”

While conducting the cleanup, the group was sure to adhere to all recommended COVID-19 guidelines.

“Masks were a requirement for everyone for sure, and we maintained physical distancing whenever possible,” Koch added.

Joining the Sailors was NAWCAD command leadership, including Rear Adm. John Lemmon, outgoing Vice Commander Capt. Craig Lee, incoming Vice Commander Capt. Joseph Hornbuckle, and Command Master Chief Michael Clark.

“Southern Maryland is an important part of naval aviation,” said NAWCAD Commander, Rear Adm. John Lemmon. “NAWCAD is immensely proud of the service we provide to the Navy. As the area’s largest employer — and primary operators of the aircraft flying over the community — we were excited for the opportunity to show some of that pride on the ground, right outside the gate.”

Koch, who arrived at Pax River in January 2019, wanted to be involved because he believes the communities around our military bases are an integral part of any installation.

“I always enjoy giving back to the communities wherever I’m stationed,” Koch said. “This was a productive effort and we cleaned up a lot of stuff.”