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Reunion organizer looks to recapture Fort Ritchie's past

June 02, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • Judy Nakada is organizing a reunion next month for people who used to live at Fort Ritchie. An event last year attracted 17 people, and Nakada expects more this year.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

CASCADE -- Judy Nakada remembers walking around the hilly grounds, swimming in the pool and playing tennis at Fort Ritchie when she was a teenager.

She also remembers the sense of family she had living on the Army base in the mid-1970s.

"I lived in a lot of places, but it was one of the most intimate posts I ever lived on," Nakada said.

Nakada is organizing a July 10 reunion of people who used to live at the fort.

The reunion will be held by the former officers' club and at the pavilion by the lake.

This is the second annual reunion. Nakada helped throw together a quick reunion last year after running into a couple of former Fort Ritchie residents at a Smithsburg event.

About 17 people attended last year's event, said Nakada, who lives in Hagerstown.

This year's reunion is a little more organized, but is still low-key, with about 17 people committed to coming so far, she said.

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She expects that number to increase as the event approaches.

Attendees are expected to travel from Florida, Texas and New York.

Nakada is asking for $10 from attendees to cover expenses.

The reunion was scheduled for the same day as the Smithsburg High alumni reunion, which is later that evening, Nakada said.

There is a Facebook page dedicated to the Fort Ritchie reunion: Fort Ritchie, MD: reconnecting past residents.

At the website, people are doing just that, reconnecting by sharing memories and posting photos of life at the fort.

Nakada said many of the fort's residents were outdoorsy, playing sports or spending time at High Rock.

Fort Ritchie was closed in 1998 as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure program.

The base is being developed by Corporate Office Properties Trust, a Columbia, Md., company.

The reunion is open to everyone, Nakada said, because there are many people in the area who went to school with fort residents, but didn't live at the fort.

To contact Nakada about the reunion, e-mail pounce_jj2000@yahoo.com">pounce_jj2000@yahoo.com or call 240-469-0625.

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