On November 7, 2019, the Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Class of 2020 participated in the third of nine educational sessions for the 2019-2020 LSM Executive Program – Defense. Class members spent the day onboard Naval Air Station Patuxent River learning from the workforce and exploring the processes and partnerships that make up the research, development, test and evaluation cycle. The group started the morning with a brief by CAPT Christopher Cox LSM’19, the base commanding officer. They also received an overview of the Naval Air Systems Command by CAPT Craig E Lee, vice commander of Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). NAVAIR provides full life-cycle support of naval aviation aircraft, weapons, and systems operated by Sailors and Marines. Then John Hungerford LSM ’18 presented on the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD). NSWC IHEODTD, located in Charles County, is the Department of Defense (DoD) Energetics Center and serves as the DoD Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Program lead.
Next on the agenda was a presentation and tour at the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS). CDR Glenn Rioux, USNTPS commanding officer, explained the selection process and curriculum at “the schoolhouse” and led the class on a tour of the facility and the hangars. The class also toured the Atlantic Test Range with Robert Vargo LSM’10, the range director, giving them the opportunity to see testing in action.
Lunch included presentations from community supporters who champion both the base and members of the military. Roger Cordell LSM’18 from the Navy League, MaryKay Myers LSM’10 of The Patuxent Partnership, RADM Tim Heely, USN (Ret.) with Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, and Larry Butts, NAWCAD deputy director of the Office of Small Business Programs were on-hand to share their organizations’ missions and efforts to promote community connections with the local military presence.
After lunch, several class members took a hands-on approach at the Manned Flight Simulator where they “flew” an F/A-18 Hornet and a rotary wing aircraft. A visit to the Auditory Performance Lab showed the class what goes on during the development phase of products like customized ear plugs and improved cranial gear for use on the flight deck. Finally, the group got a birds’ eye view of the air station from the top of the tower where air traffic control monitors and directs aircraft with a focus on safety and efficiency.
The class wrapped up the day with a networking event hosted by the LSM Alumni Association at Pax River Ale House in Lexington Park, Maryland. Class participants were able to gather and reflect on the day’s experiences and lessons learned.
Leadership Southern Maryland is a nine-month tuition-based program that educates and inspires a diverse group of current and emerging leaders. The program creates opportunities for collaborations and partnerships impacting the community needs of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties ensuring a cross-section of the region including diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity and gender.