On Thursday, November 21, a group of IWP interns was presented with the opportunity to tour the Pentagon and to sit in on a United States Army briefing in which they were able to provide ideas and input about future military threats.
The tour was given by Randy Odum, the Outreach Officer for the Secretary of the Army, and was specifically geared towards Army-based artifacts and memorabilia throughout the Pentagon due to his history and expertise with the Army. The interns were able to view artifacts from the Civil War, both World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, and various other missions in which the Army has been involved.
While touring a particular hallway under the Department of the Army jurisdiction, the interns were presented with a truly unimaginable opportunity to go inside and tour the Army Chief of Staff’s office. Inside they were in the presence of historical artifacts, timeless artwork, a beautiful table made entirely of challenge coins, and a brief insight into a day in the life of our Army’s Chief of Staff.
As the interns continued on, they toured the wing that had been affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Present in this wing were memorials to the lost employees of the Pentagon, quilts donated by generous groups from around the world, and a special room and sanctuary where guests and employees can pay respect to the fallen and provide kindhearted words for their families and loved ones. Most notably, this wing held a feeling of great somberness for the terrible loss of those innocent men and women who perished on that day twelve years ago.
Following the tour was a briefing conducted by Mr. Dana Dillon, Senior Global Analyst to the Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Army. During this briefing, the interns were able to provide civilian input into a number of threats, challenges and contingencies that the Army is currently examining. There was detailed talk about the large scope of threats that could arise around the world and with which the U.S. Army could potentially be concerned, and education about the complex operational environment that is present in current day and future crises.
The day was remarkably beneficial. The insight of both Randy Odum and Dana Dillon, along with the artifacts and memorabilia located throughout, provided the interns with education and experience that will stay with them for the long-run.
Many thanks to IWP’s Army War College Fellow, Colonel Brian Mennes, who made possible this tour.
Intern, Fall 2013
Photo above: Gun used by Saddam Hussein