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Naval Air Station Patuxent River Base Guide

Naval Air Station Patuxent River is found in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, within a short journey from Baltimore and Washington D.C. The largest employer in the area, the Navy supports the community with over 20,000 jobs in the region for military service personnel and civilians.

In an area home to about 110,000 people, the facility employs 2,400 active-duty personnel to manage air and sea operations and their families.  Learn more about NAS Patuxent River, including information on base housing, education, child care, and the surrounding area.

NAS Patuxent River Contacts

22268 Cedar Point Road
Bldg. 409
NAS Patuxent River, MD 20670-1132
(301) 342-3000

  • Adult Education Center (833) 330-6622
  • Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (301) 995-2754
  • Child Development Center (301) 342-3636
  • Commissary (301) 342-3789
  • Housing Office (301) 342-3846
  • ID/CAC Card Processing (301) 342-1054
  • School Age Care (855) 696-2934
  • School Liaison (301) 342-4911
  • Temporary Lodging/Billeting (301) 737-2400
  • Welcome Center (301) 342-3231
  • Youth Programs (301) 342-1694

Surrounding Area NAS Patuxent River

St Mary’s County and the Patuxent River provide the landscape along the shore for the NAS facility. Stretching for twelve miles, the river offers camera-worthy views of Chesapeake Bay and access within an hour or two drive to Washington D.C., and Baltimore. The site is also near Lexington Park in Maryland, offering various recreational options for single service members and families. Some nearby options for things to do include:

  • Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
  • Patuxent River State Park
  • Greenwell State Park
  • Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park
  • Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park
  • Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
  • Robinson Nature Center
  • Sotterly Historic Plantation
  • “On Watch” Monument

Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide

Mission and Units

The Naval Air Systems Command and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division headquarters both call Patuxent River their base. NAS Patuxent River’s mission encompasses research, testing development, and support activities for 140 different types of aircraft, avionics, and ship and shore operations.

Managing flights over 5,000 square miles, NAS Patuxent is responsible for more than 160,000 operations every year, reporting to the Naval District Washington and serving as the hub for the region. Major units housed and operated at NAS Patuxent River include:

  • HX-21
  • Marine Aviation
  • NAS
  • Naval Air Systems Command/ NAVAIR
  • Naval Medical Clinic
  • Personnel Support Activity Support Detachment
  • Test Pilot School (TPS)
  • VQ-4
  • VX-1
  • VX-20
  • VX-23
  • Scientific Development Squadron

In-Processing and Check-In

Immediately upon arrival, service members should check in with the Command Duty Office or command check-in point with stamped orders, service records, travel receipts, and identification in hand.

You will complete your Servicemembers Group Life Insurance form and all travel-related reimbursement paperwork at check-in.

At this stage, you should get help from your sponsor to help you learn your way around the base and lead you to the departments that will help you adjust to your new location. You must also get your ID in Building 409 (Naval Air Station Administration) on Cedar Point Road.

Child Care

Fortunately for those living in the NAS Patuxent River, there are many childcare options for service-member families with children ages six weeks to five years old. Locally, there are two child development centers, school-age care, and teen center facilities. The two Child Development Centers are accredited and offer developmentally appropriate activities that challenge children socially, emotionally, and physically and help prepare them for the skills they will need in school.

Parent fees are based on total family income. Look into securing a spot for your child in advance, and have ready birth certificates, proof of address, parent identification, proof of income, and child immunization records.

If Child Development Centers are not the right choice for your family, Child Development Homes offer care for children ages six weeks through five years old in approved home daycares with licensed care providers in residential areas.

To register or for questions, call:

  • Child Development Center Bldg. 2030 Director (301)342-7637
  • Child Development Center Bldg. 2813 Director (301) 342-1373
  • Child Development Homes Coordinator (301) 342-3960
  • School Age Program and Youth Center (301) 342-1694
  • Teen Coordinator (301) 995-4177

Housing for NAS Patuxent River

Naval Air Station Patuxent has over 700 housing units for service members’ families. During peak times, families can wait up to three months for housing availability, but this can fluctuate so it is recommended to check in with the Housing Office before arrival for wait times and types of home availability.

The Housing Office will also be your go-to site for potential housing issues with leases, complaints, and relocation. As a general rule, renters should secure renters insurance.

Some military service members may opt to live off base. For off-base housing, be prepared to need a security deposit and fees. Some housing options offer the Rental Partnership Program for military service members which may help lower rents. The Housing Office can be reached at (301) 342-3846.

Related: Basic Allowance for Housing Calculator


22155 Cuddihy Rd, Building 2173
Patuxent River, MD 20670
(301) 342-3789

The NAS Patuxent River Commissary offers in-person and online shopping options and is open seven days a week. Standard grocery staples and fresh arrivals can meet your needs at the commissary. Call ahead for special orders for home and events to order pastries, party trays, and even cheese or pepperoni pizza.

Call ahead for special orders and options to any of the following extensions: Meat Department Ext. 3007, Produce Department Ext 3008, Customer Service Desk Ext. 3112, Deli/Bakery Manager Ext. 3027.

The Commissary is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

PCS and TDY Lodging

For those needing temporary lodgings upon arrival, most will stay at the Navy Gateway Inn & Suites or the Navy Lodge. After check-in and processing you will be directed to one of these two temporary lodging facilities.

Bring your orders and ID, and a clerk will assign you a room. Lodging arrangements should be made by calling the Navy Gateway Inns & Suites at (301) 342-3601. The Navy Lodge is on base and can be reached for reservations or questions at (301) 737-2400.

For Permanent Change of Station, you will likely be assigned to billeting instead of temporary lodgings. This will be determined at check-in and in-processing if not in advance. If there is no availability for lodging at NGIS or the Navy Lodge, get a Certificate of Non-Availability (CNA), which will then allow you to find other temporary lodging off-base. If arriving with pets, inquire which facilities will be pet-friendly and allow pets to stay, including if there are restrictions against certain breeds. Expect to pay extra fees or deposits for pets.


The closest airport to NAS Patuxent River is Baltimore Washington International Airport, located near the Washington D.C. area. This airport is located about an hour and a half from the base.

At the airport, you can use a local shuttle to transport you to the AMTRAK Union Station or Saint Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation services. Finally, you can reserve a taxi for the rest of the way but expect a high price tag, potentially around $150.

Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License

When relocating to Maryland, you may need to update your vehicle registration within 30 days. Maryland requires a minimum liability insurance policy to drive on and off base.

The insurance requirement includes cars, vans, trailers, motorcycles, and boats will need to be insured as well. A valid driver’s license will also be required. As these processes can take time, make arrangements to register your vehicle and transfer your driver’s license upon arrival.


No DoD elementary through high school campuses are on base at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Young learners must be enrolled in schools in nearby Calvert, Charles, or St. Mary’s Counties. The St. Mary’s district may be the closest for those who live on Pax River. Bus service is available for those living a certain distance from campus.

School Liaison Officers can help parents and guardians choose the right school for their children. Contact the School Liaison Officer at (301) 757-1871. For those who prefer private school options and opportunities to homeschool are nearby. Schools in the area include but are not limited to:

  • George W. Carver
  • Green Holly
  • Leonardtown
  • Mechanicsville
  • Park Hall
  • Appeal
  • Beach
  • Dowell
  • Huntingtown
  • Patuxent
  • Plum Point
  • Windy Hill
  • William A. Diggs
  • Malcolm
  • T.C. Martin
  • J.C. Parks
  • Eva Turner
  • Great Mills
  • Calvert
  • Northern
  • La Plata
  • St. Charles
  • Esperanza
  • Matthew Hanson
  • Mattawoman
  • Career & Technology Academy
  • F. B. Gwynn Educational Center (Special Education Programs)

Colleges and Universities

There is currently no on-site, in-person facility for higher learning at NAS Patuxent River.

Potential learners can find the necessary information using the Navy Virtual Education Center. However, some nearby colleges and universities offer online and in-person classes for those who want to further their education.

Colleges and Universities within proximity to NAS Patuxent River include:

  • College of Southern Maryland (301) 934-2251
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (301) 863-8776
  • Florida Institute of Technology, Southern Maryland (301) 737-2500 x 214
  • Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (301)737-2500
  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland (240) 895-2000
  • University of Maryland Global Campus (301) 737-3228

Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide

NAS Patuxent River History

World War II brought changes to civilian and military life worldwide, including to naval aviation. The need for a new site near Washington D.C., but with enough space to not endanger the capitol, became clear in the 1940’s.

Thus, a site at Cedar Point, Maryland, was founded and established as Naval Air Station Patuxent River in April 1943 to centralize and consolidate the numerous local air testing missions.

Within a short time in 1943, the site was already conducting radio and flight tests and supporting experimental missions, including the test flight of the first fully jet-powered XP-59A in 1944. By 1949, test pilots were using ejection seats and simulated angled decks.

The Korean War in the 1950s heightened these efforts in the rapid development of the aviation industry with the Tactical Test Division. By 1961, Alan Shepard had gone to space, pushing for test pilots from Patuxent River to be the first Americans in orbit around the Earth.

A restructuring of the site occurred in 1975, solidifying the site’s importance in testing and development, making room for the NAWC Aircraft Division to be inaugurated in 1992. NAS Patuxent River participated in the Triton program in 2013, true to its mission to push for innovation and development in naval aviation nationwide.

Today, NAS Patuxent River supports Navy operations within a 100-mile radius of the Pentagon.

Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide



About the author

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Kena Sosa is an award-winning author, filmmaker and percussionist. She
earned her BA from OLLU and her MBEGT from SMU. She published two
award-winning children’s books. Kena has written for CBS/DFW Local and
Multicultural Review Magazine. She was the Guest Editor for the Fall/Winter
2023 ChildArt Magazine issue. Kena has written for Recon Media since 2023.