National Army Museum opens with virtual pomp and circumstance

Yesterday, Veteran’s Day, was a perfectly fitting day to open the National Museum of the United States Army. Out of an abundance of caution because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Army and Defense Department leaders conducted the opening ceremonies alone in the museum’s cavernous lobby and livestreamed it.

Located in southeastern Fairfax County in a publicly accessible area of Fort Belvoir, at 1775 Liberty Drive, the museum celebrates 245 years of Army history and honors our nation’s soldiers — past, present and future — in the regular Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. The state-of-the-art facility tells the history of the Army through the stories of bravery, innovation, service and sacrifice of the American Soldier.

Ribbon-cutting at the National Museum of the United States Army on Veteran’s Day 2020 (screenshot)

Socially-distanced and masked-up speakers included the newly installed Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville, and Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy. Also attending were Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston and Tammy Call, director of the museum.

“The National Museum of the United States Army is a special place because it honors the accomplishments, the sacrifices, and the commitment of our American soldiers throughout the nation’s history,” McConville said. “The Army Museum has done an incredible job of bringing to life the inspiration stories of service and sacrifice of American soldiers. Every soldier has a story and the Army Museum is the home of those stories.”

Miller noted the range of items in the museum. “Within these walls the most comprehensive collection of U.S. Army artifacts, documents, and images ever assembled in one place. Only here can you immerse yourself in Revolutionary War memorabilia, experience the sights and sounds of trench warfare during World War I, and see up close one of the six remaining D-Day landing craft. Around each corner are vivid and compelling exhibits that trace the evolution of warfare through time and illustrate how the Army adapts and overcomes the challenges of the day.”

Call cut the ribbon with a ceremonial saber delivered earlier by the Golden Knights, the Army’s parachute team. Members of the Golden Knights jumped from a plane flying over Fort Belvoir. When they landed on the parade ground in front of the museum, they presented the sword to Sgt. James Akinola, the 2020 Soldier of the Year, a combat medic assigned to Fort Jackson, S.C. He carried it inside to Call, who stood in front of the speakers and sliced through the black, white and gold-colored ribbon with Akinola and Grinston at her side.

The museum is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on December 25. Visitors must request and receive confirmation of free timed-entry tickets. Details about ticket reservations, and current health and safety guidelines, are available at theNMUSA.org.

Before you visit, however, check out this article with must-see museum recommendations from Visit Fairfax: 10 Must-See Experiences at the New National Museum of the U.S. Army.

22 Fairfax County firms rank on Military-Friendly Employers list

Twenty-two Fairfax County-based firms rank on the national 2021 Military-Friendly Employers list compiled by VIQTORY, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business.

The annual Military Friendly ratings program began in 2003 as an advocacy tool to encourage civilian organizations to invest in programs to recruit, retain and advance veterans and military spouses as employees, entrepreneurs and students.

VIQTORY said it intends for the list to be a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources through continuously improved methodology, criteria, and weightings developed with the help of an independent research firm and proprietary survey information from participating organizations.

Click on the links of company names for detailed information on why the company was honored with its placement on the list.

2021 Military-Friendly Employers list: Fairfax County-based companies

Assured Consulting Solutions Reston
BAE Systems Falls Church
Beacon Building Products Herndon
Capital One Tysons
Constellis Herndon
Criterion Systems Vienna
DynCorp International Tysons
General Dynamics Information Technology Reston
General Dynamics Mission Systems Fairfax
Hilton Tysons
Leidos Reston
Modern Technology Solutions Alexandria
Northrop Grumman Falls Church
Obera Herndon
PAE Falls Church
Parsons Centreville
PenFed Credit Union Tysons
Perspecta Chantilly
Ridgeline International Tysons
SNVC Fairfax
SOSi Reston

The Northern Virginia region is headquarters for another eight companies that placed on the list: CACI International, Leonardo DRS and Nestle U.S. in Arlington; Datrose in Manassas; Kinaras Solutions in Dumfries; Pro-Sphere Tek in Alexandria; United Rentals in Sterling; and Zeiders Enterprises in Woodbridge.

Mason launches Military, Veterans & Families Initiative

About 10 percent of the students at Fairfax-headquartered George Mason University are active-duty military, veterans and dependents, the university says. To ensure these students and their families receive the assistance and acquire the skills they need, Mason is providing and expanding comprehensive and crucial services through the newly formed Military, Veterans, & Families Initiative (MVFI).

According to News at Mason, the MVFI had its beginnings in 2015 when a group of faculty and staff began discussing ideas for a center dedicated to service members and veterans at Mason. Over time, the idea evolved to focus on organizing and bringing together Mason’s many activities in this area, without relocating all the programs into a new center. The objective is to connect individuals with others, raise programs’ visibility, and help them gain the support they need to achieve their goals, while allowing them to thrive in their existing spaces.

In honor of Veteran’s Day this year, Mason’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, the Office of Military Services, and the Military, Veterans, & Families Initiative are offering a variety of free events throughout this week, pre-recorded messages of appreciation, and discounts for Mason’s veterans. Events can be found here.

Click here to see a video of Mason President Gregory Washington honoring the university’s veterans.

November 12, 2020