Tempus Revives the Naval Air Station in Brunswick as an Elite Aircraft Maintenance and Modification Facility
Story reprinted from Tempus Magazine with permission from Tempus Jets.
By Scott Terry, Tempus CEO
In January 1990 I was a young U.S. Navy aviator who had grown up in the South — Georgia, to be exact—and was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. I was a Southern boy and even in the navy found myself in familiar territory. Right up until I received orders to transfer to Patrol Squadron 23 in Brunswick, Maine. Oh my.
In mid-January, U-Haul in tow and in the middle of the night, I arrived in Brunswick. It was cold, and there was snow on the ground, but the most interesting thing was that it was very dark. I had taken a short-term rental home on Orr’s Island, about a fifteen-minute drive from the Naval Air Station, which seemed like a beautiful setting based on the pictures I had seen. But when I approached the house on a dirt road through the woods, it felt like I was five hundred miles from nowhere—and it was really dark.
About two years later, Norman Mailer would publish a novel called Harlot’s Ghost. In the opening chapter, the principal character would describe a journey in the middle of the night in freezing rain and snow from Bath, Maine, to his family home near Mount Desert Island. Never before had I read something to which I could relate so well. It was Mailer’s description of the darkness that I found to be so strikingly close to my own experience.
Two and a half years later, when I transferred to another truly foreign environment — staff duty in London — I was sad to leave Maine. I tell people that from July 4 until after New Year’s, living in Maine is like living in a fairy tale. Summer is about the water and outdoor activities. On Labor Day someone flips a switch and it becomes autumn with football Saturdays at Bowdoin College. Leaves will actually change color in early October, and Christmas will definitely be white. The biggest issue that I had to overcome was that one of Brunswick’s most famous residents was an officer in the Union army during the Civil War who later became the president of Bowdoin College — the infamous (from a Southern boy’s standpoint) Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. Yes, the heroic Union army colonel who held Little Round Top against great odds to protect the Union’s left flank at Gettysburg. Despite the nervous twitch that I would endure while passing by the tavern on Maine Street in Brunswick that bears his name and later the statue on the grounds of the college, Maine was good for me, and I grew to feel at home there.
Unfortunately for Brunswick, the Naval Air Station closed in 2011. Thousands of jobs and residents vanished from a town that had grown to depend on the navy for its economic stability. Fortunately for Tempus Jets, the navy left behind a state-of-the-art aviation complex that is now home to our Technical Services division. Until August of last year, I only had memories of my time in Maine and never thought under any circumstances that Brunswick would again play such an important role in my life. When Tempus was looking for a facility capable of handling Boeing and Airbus jets that are now part of our maintenance and modification portfolio, the ex–Naval Air Station found itself at the top of our list. Since our first inquiry in August 2013, the redevelopment authority, the state and local officials, and the good people of Brunswick have welcomed us with open arms and unbridled enthusiasm.
Tempus cannot bring back six navy squadrons to Brunswick. We have only promised that we will do our best to establish and grow a commercial enterprise that can thrive with all the talented human resources and grand facilities that the navy left behind. My greatest fear of returning to Brunswick is that the ghost of Joshua Chamberlain may conceive our arrival into town as a “Southern invasion,” which would require some sort of poltergeist intervention. But I made peace with Maine almost twenty-five years ago, and I come bearing a small gift of hope for the community today.