Goodbye, MMR. Hello, Joint Base Cape Cod

By GEORGE BRENNAN | Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass. | Published: July 19, 2013

HYANNIS, Mass. — With a swipe of his pen across an executive order today, Gov. Deval Patrick will change a piece of military history on Cape Cod.

Patrick is expected to sign the order changing the name of the 22,000 acres on the Upper Cape from Massachusetts Military Reservation to Joint Base Cape Cod — a moniker that military leaders say better suits the diverse uses of the base shared by the Coast Guard, the Massachusetts National Guard and the U.S. Air Force.

According to the executive order, the name change will "properly brand the base and more accurately reflect both the current and joint relationships that exist."

The idea came from the state Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, which is working to make sure Bay State military installations can demonstrate their relevance to the U.S. Department of Defense as the country's military leaders look for ways to cut spending.

State political and military leaders are trying to protect the 4,000 full- and part-time jobs and the $405 million in annual economic impact Joint Base Cape Cod generates.

"Renaming the base more accurately reflects the important ongoing work and opens up more opportunities for joint services and cost savings," Patrick said.

The Times first reported the proposed name change in May as it was floated to legislators on Cape Cod. Military leaders defended the name change, saying it made sense as missions changed and evolved on the base.

Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, praised the change.

"Renaming the MMR to Joint Base Cape Cod will enhance awareness of the installation's joint operations and promote the current and future missions of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Coast Guard and Air Force," he said.

None of the other names within the gates of the base will change.

Camp Edwards will still house the National Guard, Otis Air National Guard Base remains the home of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, the Coast Guard still operates out of Air Station Cape Cod, and Cape Cod Air Force Station is where PAVE PAWS radar station is located.

Edwards and Otis are named for former military leaders at the base. Edwards is named for Maj. Gen. Clarence Edwards, a former commander of the 26th Yankee Division, and Otis is named after Lt. Frank Otis, a 26th Yankee Division surgeon who was killed in a cross-country flight.

The Cape Cod base originally was established in 1935, when then-Gov. James Curley signed a bill to establish a training base on Cape Cod and the Military Reservation Commission, according to a history of the base published on the Massachusetts Military Reservation website.

Three years later, Massachusetts Military Reservation was named by an executive order similar to the one signed by Patrick.

Military leaders previously said that although the name change would be immediate, the process of replacing signs and letterhead would be slower because of the budget effect.

Patrick also will announce today that he is taking over as co-chairman of the military task force as a result of the departure of Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, who previously led the group.

Patrick will lead the task force with U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., and former U.S. Sen. William "Mo" Cowan.


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