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NC-111 Visits Washington, D.C.

Cadets at Pentagon
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Following their tour of the Pentagon, members of the 111th Search and Rescue Composite Squadron pose at the Pentagon Memorial honoring the 184 people who died when American Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon during the September 11 attacks. PHOTO CREDIT: 1st Lt Nick Gulla. CAP (click image to view full size)
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111th Search and Rescue Composite Squadron tours nation's capital

5/23/2019––21 cadets and six senior members from the 111th Search and Rescue Composite Squadron visited the nation’s capital on 3-5 May 2019. Day one started early with a walking tour of Arlington National Cemetery. Cadets toured the 624 acre site and visited notable grave sites such as John Glenn, Omar Bradley, the Eternal Flame of former President John F. Kennedy, and the monuments to both the Challenger and the Columbia Space Shuttle missions.

At 9 am the group witnessed the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The somber and moving ceremony was performed by members of the 3rd Infantry Regiment or the “Old Guard.” After watching a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb, the cadets changed into their Blues uniforms for their next tour - the Pentagon. There they got the opportunity to walk the corridors of the building housing the offices of generals and service Secretaries of the nation's armed forces.

Next, they headed to the United States Air Force Memorial where the 201 foot stainless steel spires evoke the image of the U.S. Thunderbird Bomb Burst maneuver. Making the most of their time in the nation’s capital, the cadets then took a nighttime stroll along the National Mall and took in the sights and some quick night photo ops.

The following morning started with a tour towards the White House and the other monuments along the National Mall. After departing the White House, they continued the tour along the National Mall where the cadets enjoyed walking around the Reflecting Pool and taking in all of the surrounding history.

Making the most of their time in DC, next was the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the National Archives, followed by a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress.

For the last stop on their whirlwind tour of Washington DC, the cadets stopped at the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials and ending at the Lincoln Memorial. While at the Vietnam Memorial, C/Amn Jake Honeycutt located a family member who had made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and whose name was etched into the black granite. Cadet Honeycutt found the name of his great uncle, along with more than 58,000 of his brothers in arms whose names were inscribed for all to see. “It was really cool. My grandma had found his name before and I was really glad to have found it and gotten the chance to see it and honor my great uncle,” said Cadet Honeycutt.

“I think it’s great for all the cadets to get the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C., experiencing the differing views of Americans, being given the opportunity to see and take pride in the district in which our nation’s government takes hold,” said C/Maj Dylan Gulla, the cadet Squadron Commander for the 111th.

C/SrA Sophia Ericsson said, “This was the first time I’ve ever gotten to explore DC and it was even better that I got to do it with my friends!”

After the end of a busy day, the cadets were shuttled to the hotel for dinner and a quick recharge and, after dinner, toured more of the monuments along the National Mall. Around 10 pm the fun ended, and they headed back to their rooms to pack and head back to Charlotte. All of the cadets had a great time and are already talking about the next trip to DC since there is still so much more to see.

“We had such a great time exploring the capital and experiencing our history, such as viewing the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, that we may have to make this an annual trip,” said the 111th Squadron Commander, Maj Sherry Haskell.