Commandant, Naval District Washington, Rear Adm. Mike Steffen, has named NAS Patuxent River the NDW Regional winner of the Installation Excellence Award — Large Shore category — which recognizes quality in installation management, program excellence and community outreach.

“I want to personally congratulate you and your teams for the outstanding leadership and focus which has resulted in your selection as this year’s NDW Installation Excellence Award winner,” wrote Steffen in an email message announcing the win. “Your exemplary efforts and all that your teams have been able to achieve clearly stood out amongst the cream of the crop. I truly appreciate your hard work, dedication, and the great things you are doing. You and your teams may be justifiably proud of what you have accomplished. Please pass a Bravo Zulu to all your outstanding Sailors and civilians.”

All of the NDW installations were judged on air and port operations; fire and emergency management; security; safety and health; conservation efforts; planned or completed energy projects; facility improvement; property stewardship; fleet and family readiness; communications and public relations.

FY21 was a banner year for Pax River despite budget cuts and the continued dampening effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following are just some of the activities and initiatives that earned Pax River its award:

The installation hosted Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks for an Earth Day event highlighting Pax River’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program, which preserved 1,189 acres in FY21 totaling $5 million and bringing the grand total to 67 parcels, 12,730 acres, and $57.3 million, of which $26.1 million is Navy REPI contribution.

Collaborating with Deborah Loomis, the senior advisor to the Secretary of the Navy for Climate Change, Pax River is advocating energy initiatives such as Carbon Sequestration, agricultural out-leasing and forest protection. The installation’s 14,500 acres are postured in a position of advantage in a future of climate change.

The DoD’s Defense Community Infrastructure Program awarded the installation a project totaling $564,000. The Gate 2 intersection reconstruction will strengthen our partnership with the local community through a pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly connector. Also deepening our partnership with St. Mary’s County is the renewed Intergovernmental Support Agreement, saving the Navy more than $1.2 million.

Pax River achieved the first-ever Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems Federal Aviation Association Authority to Operate for fixed and mobile systems, while our Air Operations team supported 82,234 aviation operations, multiple Joint Interagency events, and five successful inspections.

The air station passed the 2021 Explosives Safety Inspection with laudatory comments from Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity and OPNAV N4 that our Explosives Safety Program is exceptional.

Pax River also aced its Utilities Audit by Ernst and Young (E&Y) with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Facilities) stating, “E&Y found zero exceptions in your inventory and supporting documents. This is the first time we’ve ever received that feedback from any installation visit. I can’t tell you how pleased I am for you and the department.”

“I cannot be more proud of our team,” said NAS Commanding Officer Capt. John Brabazon. “Throughout the past year, we’ve made significant improvements across the board. This award is a testament to the team’s dedication and commitment.”

As a result of the win, Pax River will now advance to the CNIC-level of competition as the NDW nominee, facing other regions around the world for the Navywide award. Winners of the CNIC-level Installation Excellence Award will go on to compete with installations from other branches of the military services for the DoD-wide Commander in Chief Awards.