NAS Patuxent River, MD – Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS PAX) commended the naval career of Captain Jason G. Hammond while also celebrating the promotion of Captain Christopher A. Cox to acting commanding officer of the base.

Taking command Aug. 31, 2017 after a year acting as PAX NAS’s Executive Officer (XO), Capt. Hammond relishes his almost three years in St. Mary’s County. The retired captain expressed that he understood why so many service men and women elected to stay in the area upon completing their duties. “It’s been amazing to go out and speak in the community, to talk to people, to learn how patriotic they are. It’s a break in the grind. It’s taken my career and made me look at myself to understand what service means because really the entire community of St. Mary’s county is a community of servants.”

A native of Danville, Kentucky, Capt. Hammond graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis as a part of the 1993 class. He has served in Virginia, Washington, Japan, California, among other places throughout the world, serving on a variety of vessels in multiple capacities. Hammond returned to Maryland in 2016 for his tenure as PAX’s XO.

The distinguished captain’s staff spoke very highly of him, touching on his sense of duty to the United States and his staff.

Hammond spent a sizable portion of his address recognizing the latter, stating that his staff, along with the tenants and community, help to make NAS PAX the greatest place that he’s been in the Navy.

The newly retired captain finished his initial address stating he wished he could stay in St. Mary’s County “forever” before reading his orders and relinquishing command of the base to his XO, Captain Cox.

“My goal is for the base to operate such that you can put forth your undistracted best efforts in everything you do, every day,” announced the new commander to the hangar, imploring his staff to hold him accountable to his words. Cox graduated from the Naval Academy in 1995, becoming a Flight Officer in 1997, making his way to PAX in 2017. “Chris is ready, and when I say ready, I mean already in charge. He’s by far the smartest human being I’ve ever come across and he will do more for this installation than any of us combined, I truly believe that,” exclaimed the, now retired, Capt. Hammond of his replacement. Cox also stressed the vitality of community and leisure activities to the base, citing them as a “critical part of the Navy’s, non-pay, compensation system,” allowing servicemen to more effectively fulfil their duties.

Following Captain Cox’s inaugural address, one of the community’s aforementioned retired Naval officers who elected to stay in the area spoke on behalf of captains Hammond and Cox. Captain Glen R. Ives (retired) served as PAX River’s commanding officer from July 20, 2006 through May 16, 2008. He served as a mentor to Capt. Hammond, teaching him how to lead as commanding officer and how to transition back into civilian life. Currently the president and chief operating officer of Sabre Systems, Inc., Ives spoke highly of Hammond, stating that he “can’t help but smile” while thinking about his career. “I’m struck by how much his career represents what I’ve always dreamed and imagined. He traveled the world.”

The ceremony began to wind down as Rear Admiral Carl A. Lahti (Commandant, Naval District Washington) and Command Master Chief Petty Officer Kevin V. Guy gave their remarks. Capt. Hammond closed out the ceremony by accepting awards and recognition from the Navy and community, including State Senator Jack Bailey, Delegate Brian Crosby and the St. Mary’s County Board of County Commissioners. Following his awards and recognitions  the captain traveled ashore for the last time, marking the end of his Naval career.

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