scenes from the pentagon

I heard a funny story today at the Pentagon.

You know the central courtyard?

Well, there’s a small building in the middle of it. Apparently during the Cold Ward, the Russians saw on their satellites that people were constantly coming and going from this building. They concluded that it must be the Pentagon’s most top-secret meeting room. In fact, they assumed that the rest of the Pentagon was built to shield this one structure. As a result, the Russians kept missiles pointed at this building at all times.

Any guesses about what that building really was?

It was the office hot dog stand. It’s now jokingly referred to as “Cafe Ground Zero, the deadliest hot dog stand in the world.”

I also visited the small 9/11 memorial right by the crash site (there’s a larger memorial outside that I didn’t see) and met with a number of DoD colleagues whose work may overlap with mine.

Throughout the day, all the uniforms I encountered reminded me of some advice I got during A-100: if I understand nothing else about the military, I at least need to be able to deduce someone’s rank from his or her badges. Three-star generals don’t take kindly to being called “sir” or “captain,” after all.

I definitely do plan to study up on the military, but it’s relatively low on my ever-expanding list of things to learn. After all, if a three-star general shows up in Cotonou, I have much bigger things to worry about than etiquette…

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One Response to scenes from the pentagon

  1. rich kolker says:

    Haven’t seen any “stars” in Cotonou since I’ve been here, and just to add to the fun, other governments’ militaries use different insignia.

    There’s a hotel in Arlington which overlooks the Pentagon (used to be the Sheraton…may still be) with a great suite on the top floor with a wall of windows which show a great view of DC. I always thought in case of nuclear war, it would be the place with the best view, at least in the short term.

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