Marine mayor of small Maryland town activated for war on terrorism
By SANDRA JONTZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 10, 2003
ARLINGTON, Va. — He’s a major who became a mayor. Then had to resign.
Brad Jewitt, 33, a Marine Corps Reservist, has been called to active duty. Wednesday, after serving eight months as mayor, he relinquished his political job during his final Town Council meeting in Berwyn Heights, Md.
“I’m bummed. I worked hard to get that position. But duty to the country comes first,” said Jewitt, who as a civilian is the head of the facilities management section at Marine Corps headquarters in Arlington, Va.
He’s been activated for at least a year for Operation Enduring Freedom, the nation’s war against terrorism. Jewitt said he can’t say where he’s off to, when and what he’ll be doing, but only that the Corps needed a field-grade officer with at least a top-secret clearance.
Jewitt enlisted in the Corps in 1989, and as an infantryman in California, was assigned to a unit designated as a combat replacement company for troops fighting in the Persian Gulf War.
“Luckily, we never left Camp Pendleton,” he said.
Once he earned a B.A. in political science from York College in Pennsylvania, the now-commissioned Jewitt became a financial management officer and spent nine years active duty, much of it stationed in the Pacific theater.
In the summer of 2001, he took the civilian job, and left the life of a military man behind.
Until the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was here when that happened and we were really busy establishing work spaces for some 600 Marines who were displaced from the Pentagon. You should have seen them — they really wanted to get back to work. We converted every nook and cranny of the Annex into office space. People were working with wires hanging down, sitting on boxes, using boxes as tables.
“By November, the pace slowed down and I began thinking about getting back involved. So I joined the Reserves.”
As a Reservist, he was assigned to the Legislative Affairs Office and got to see a little of the behind-the-scene workings of Congress.
A divorced father — his son Hunter is 5 years old — Jewitt wanted to remain close to family and put down roots, so more than a year ago, he moved to the suburban Washington town of Berwyn Heights, population 3,000.
His political career, albeit short, had gone from the Berwyn Heights Parks and Recreation Council, to an appointed spot on the Town Council and finally to mayor eight months ago, getting 387 out of the 490 ballots cast.
One of his better qualities is his ability to make people feel welcome, said Nikki Jamison, 24, one of his employees.
“He’s a real people person. I talk to him about a lot of things. He’s older so he helps me with all sorts of stuff.
“And he loved being the mayor. He always talked about Berwyn Heights,” she said. “Yup, Brad put Berwyn Heights on the map for us.”
The major has yet to decide if he’ll again run for mayor, he said.
“It was an honor to serve and I had a very short time to try to make an impact,” he said. “But I’ll reserve judgment on whether I’ll return to politics.”