DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
When I think about the Pentagon, one of the U.S.’s most iconic buildings and its distinctive shape with five equal sides that form the shape the building is known for, I am in awe of the structure and architecture. It’s also the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense. Many people might think of it as only a building that has offices where a lot of generals and high-ranking personnel are stationed, and where they make decisions for all branches of the military.
This past week, 10 individuals from the 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron were given the opportunity to take some time and headed over to Arlington, Virginia, for a tour of the Pentagon.
The planning for this tour began two months ago, when we sent up names along with other personal identifiers to be cleared-a necessary step to participate in the tour. When we arrived at the Pentagon, we were met by security, who escorted us through the door, ushered us through a metal detector and verified our personal identification. Thankfully, everyone cleared.
We were given badges that said “ESCORT REQUIRED.” No, not even the military can go just anywhere. Two Army infantrymen acted as our tour guides. One stayed in front of our group, and the other stayed behind us. I will also add, the one in the front walked backwards for the entire hour it took us to complete the 1.5 mile tour.
The Pentagon, we discovered, is more than just a building with high-ranking personnel, although we did see plenty of them. Due to the nature of what goes on in the building and the length of time it takes to get in and out of the building, it struck me as a city within a city, including multiple places to eat, a state-of-the-art gym and multiple stores for shopping.
One of the things I found most interesting was a spot our tour guide called “Redemption Hall,” which he said was named for all the “I’m sorry” presents given to spouses there.
The last stop on our tour was the location of the 9/11 terrorist attack. We all knew about the attacks that happened that fateful day, but I was personally amazed at the contractors’ dedication to rebuild the Pentagon’s damaged area prior to the one-year anniversary of 9/11 so that family members and friends did not have to come back to the damaged site yet again.
All in all, our tour was a great opportunity. I’m personally looking forward to more professional development trips like these, because they bring everyone to a better understanding of what is really happening in the U.S. today.