Pax River is deeply saddened to announce the passing of James Lawrence Bender IV, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Dec. 15, 2022.

Capt. Christopher Cox, then NAS Patuxent River commanding officer, presents a letter of commendation to James Bender, USDA, Sept. 26, 2019 for outstanding performance as an integral part of the Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) and Air Operations team from 2017 to 2019.

Bender was fixture of NAS Patuxent River’s Air Operations and Environmental departments as a USDA Wildlife Services wildlife biologist. His efforts in the Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) prevention program at Pax River had a direct impact on pilot and aircrew safety; the BASH prevention program relies on specialists like Bender to identify bird and other wildlife species near airfields and enact measures to prevent their activity near airfields, preventing collisions with aircraft.

“This is truly a loss for the Pax River community, and we offer our deepest condolences to his parents James and Cynthia and the rest of the Bender family,” said NAS Patuxent River commanding officer Capt. Derrick Kingsley. “I speak for all of the pilots at Pax River when I say that Jim was a true professional, and we owe our safety to him and his team every day keeping the airfield clear of BASH hazards. He will be dearly missed.”

Bender’s efforts in the BASH prevention program at NAS Pax River were so successful that he was recognized for his exemplary work in that program in 2019 by then commanding officer Capt. Christopher Cox.

An avid outdoorsman, he was a skilled hunter, clay target shooter, and life member of the Consolidated Sportsmen of Lycoming County in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from Lycoming College, Pennsylvania, before joining the Pennsylvania Game Commission and later the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. His contributions to the field of ornithology resulted in greater understanding of the Roseate tern, a threatened species of coastal fishing bird, before joining the USDA at NAS Patuxent River.

A Christian burial Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, 702 W. 4th St., Williamsport, Pennsylvania in the spring of 2023. Burial will be in Resurrection Cemetery.

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