By Midshipman 1st Class Gabriel Tang Ying Kit
Republic of Singapore
Comprising less than 0.02% of the Brigade of Midshipman, the international midshipman are a small and relatively unknown part of the brigade.
These midshipmen hail from 30 countries spread all over the globe and they are on exchange at the U.S. Naval Academy for the entire four years. Upon graduation, they will return back to their country and serve in their Navy – as allies of the United States and mini diplomats for their country.
As part of the exchange experience, these midshipmen had a chance to visit the Pentagon on an educational tour recently. The tour gave them information on the history of the Pentagon, the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, and the importance of the Pentagon as a keystone of the United States military.
The tour commenced with an impressive background and history of the building. It was constructed in 1943 when the War Department (the DoD equivalent back in its time) decided it needed a headquarters in the face of World War II. Did you know that the Pentagon has twice the office space of the Empire State Building? The architecture and structure of the Pentagon is unique, vast, yet it is highly efficient; it takes an individual only seven minutes to cross the entire span of the building.
The tour also took the international midshipmen through the 9/11 memorial.
“It’s very somber – the fact that the Pentagon was a victim of 9/11 is often overlooked. This visit serves as a reminder that the United States military plays a very key role in the defense of not only the United States, but the entire free world as well,” said Midshipman 1/C Supawit Wongissares, from Thailand.
After graduation in May 2015, Wongissares will return to Thailand and hopes to pursue a post-graduate degree in engineering.
The visit to the Pentagon wasn’t just educational for the International Midshipmen Club but also served to reinforce connections and ties between the United States military and its allies from all over the world.