Monday hopped onboard the Metro and headed to the Smithsonian Museums starting at the Castle. We then headed to the Museum of Natural History, had lunch then headed to Arlington Cemetery where we watched a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldiers, The Custis house and visited famous grave sites including Edward Kennedy, JFK, Martha Washington. and headed to the Women in Uniform Museum. We then headed to back to our hotel and drove out to dinner to Fairfax. After dinner we toured the capital via van and headed to the Boy Scouts of America Memorial. Due to preparation on the upcoming scouting centennial the stature was cordoned off. We then headed to the Jefferson Memorial.
On Tuesday we headed back out on the Metro to the Air and Space Museum, We had lunch in China Town with Homeland Security representative Jeffrey Collins (of Haines City, FL, I work with his father. Jeff is an intern and former Explorer Scout, then headed to the Senate for a tour by Senator Burr-NC office. We toured the senate but did not go to the gallery since they were not in session. After our senate tour we headed back to Alexandra pick up the vans then headed to dinner. After dinner we headed to the Iwo Jima Memorial (Marine and Navy Memorial) Beautiful at night. then back to our hotel.
Wednesday we headed out early via the metro to the White House. We were given a personal tour by Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher of the White House, Rear Admiral Stephen W. Rochon. The Admiral took his time during the long tour to bring up Scouting virtues and illustrated to the scouts his own experiences. Admiral Rochon started as a E-1 and worked his way thru the ranks up to Admiral.. Each job he did he always did his best. We even discussed his mentor Alex Halley, Author of Roots. We discussed the experiences each of us have had thru our lives and how it makes us what we think and do. Understanding folks point of view is important to explain their feeling about issues and such. The Admiral also told us the story of the basketball goal installation (I come home and read about it in the newspaper after the trip). He was very impressed with the Spaulding Company. Spaulding donated the hoops to the park service (not directly to the White House or president. ) Discussed energy savings project being implemented in the White house and discussed all the responsibilities he had as head usher. He told a story about being considered as “Chief Usher” He said, at the time, “I had no clue what a Chief Usher was.” He said “I was imagining a guy with a flashlight and a little cap walking up and down the aisles of a movie theater.” The Admiral spent about 3 1/2 hours with us. At the departure we all received a box of White House M&M’s with Obama’s signature. At one time during the tour the Admiral said that he had let the president know he was with our Boy Scout Troop and the President wished us well.
The trip was set up with the help of Jerry Currin, Currin Agency and Associates, Inc. Jerry knew Admiral Rochon’s barber Romie Burt and we also had help from Mayor Bryne. Our tour was extremely meaningful and emotion provoking. A lifetime experience.
Our troop is very thankful to Admiral Rochon and his staff for an exceptional experience. I believe his works of challenge and experience will serve us all.
After the White House we went to Kirkland-Ellis to meet with Troop 320 Eagle Scout John O’Quinn. John fed us lunch and talked to the troop about his trail to Eagle. Of all the things John has accomplished in this life he told the guys that Eagle was the thing he did at a youth that he list on his resume. After lunch John took us up to the top of his office building with a view of the White House that few are able to view.
After the meeting with John O.Quinn we headed to the national Archives to see the original constitution and other important documents then back to meet with another Troop 320 Eagle Scout, David Glidden. David discussed what Scouting has done for him and what how being an Eagle Scout opened doors for him. David is, a student at George Washington University. We had dinner at Chipolte near campus. After dinner we headed on a walking tour of the Lincoln, Vietnam and WWII memorials. We probably hiked about 68 miles over the five days. We rode the Metro at least that many miles also. On Thursday we had a Supreme Court tour set up by Mr. O’Quinn, a former aid to Justice Scalia with a guide from the Supreme Count Curator’s office. After the tour we went looking for the world’s second nd tallest escalator in the Rosslyn metro Station then headed back to our hotel then back to Fuquay-Varina.
This trip would not have been possible without the participation and expert leadership of Bud Howard and Justin Olson leaders of Troop 320. We meet on Monday nights at the Fuquay-Varina United Methodist Church from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Ages 11 thru 18.
Also contributing to the trip were Eagle Scouts: Justin Olson, Eagle class of 2009; David Glidden, Eagle Class of 2005, Host in DC; John O’Quinn, Eagle Class of 1990, Host in DC; and Shane Lympany Eagle Class of 2009.
Bud Howard, Assistant Scoutmaster, Justin Olson, Assistant Scoutmaster, Sam Seidenstricker, Shane Lympany, Aaron Lympany, Duncan Howard, Andrew Billings, Timothy Young, William Gantt, Johnathan Bell, Connor Thompson, Peter Raig, Andrew McLeod, Winston Beck, Justin Bunn, Scoutmaster Glenn Traylor, William Stephens, Connor Stephens, Aaron Paine, Christian Chrietzberg, James Stevens, Nelson Griffith, John Vines.