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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2019

Joint Base MDL celebrates 10-year anniversary

By Airman 1st Class Briana Cespedes 87 ABW PA

Service members, civic leaders, and senior leaders hosted a 10-year anniversary of the nation’s only tri-service installation with the Celebration of the Decennium at Doughboy Field on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Oct. 1. The celebration consisted of a re-dedication ceremony, static displays and a groundbreaking for the future site of the installation’s Decennium Time Capsule.

 Joint Base MDL consolidated Oct. 1, 2009 housing all five military branches. It is the second largest employer in the state of New Jersey spanning across more than 42,000 acres.

“The military leadership [here] is a great team and have made a great success of Joint Base MDL,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton of New Jersey. “We can only say to all of you who are here on a daily basis, ‘thank you’.”

Congressman Saxton spent years advocating for McGuire Air Force Base and Fort Dix to join with Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst. Each installation was under threat of being closed down in the 80’s and 90’s due to the Base Re-alignment and Closure Commissions (BRAC). However, congressman Saxton had the idea of combining all three installations in order to persuade the Pentagon to keep the installations functioning in the state of New Jersey. The Pentagon decided to adopt joint base models across the U.S. with Joint Base MDL as the only tri-service installation.

“There was a lot of work from 2005-09 to get three different service organizations under one ‘umbrella,’” said James Warrick, 87th Air Base Wing base historian, “This [event] is an opportunity to showcase those efforts and results.”

The re-dedication ceremony highlighted the amount of work it took to unify the installations and what key leaders who were involved in the process. There were static displays from each military service displaying the equipment and resources service members of Joint Base MDL train with every-day. The Armed Forces Heritage Museum also showcased a virtual museum of the Joint Base MDL history. 

“As I look back over the last 10 years to the day the joint base was launched, I can think of nothing in my years of Congress that was more enjoyable, important or rewarding,” said congressman Saxton.

The ceremony ended with a groundbreaking at the future site of Joint Base MDL’s Decennium Time Capsule. Conducting the dig were senior leaders U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Mark Palzer, 99th Readiness Division commander, U.S. Navy Capt. William Sherrod, Naval Support Activity-Lakehurst deputy commander, and Congressman Saxton. The Time Capsule will highlight the current mission of Joint Base MDL with artifacts from different wings. Years from now, the community will be able to see what Joint Base MDL once was as a 10-year-old installation.