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Orange County Squadron Tours Washington, D.C.

The Orange County Comp Squadron at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington, D.C. on June 18, 2015.
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The Orange County Comp Squadron at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington, D.C. on June 18, 2015. Photo Credit: National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center Photographer (click image to view full size)
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CAP Members meet Senators in visit to U.S. Capital

6/20/2015–– Eight Cadets and three Senior Members of the Orange County Composite Squadron toured Washington, D.C. on June 17-20, 2015.  

One highlight of the trip was the squadron meeting with North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.  Both Senators spoke with each CAP member, shook everyone’s hands and thanked the squadron members for their service to America.  Senator Burr also told the squadron about the history of the Capitol and its’ current renovations.  After meeting the Senators, the CAP members toured the U.S. Capitol and watched the U.S. Senate in action from the Senate viewing gallery. 
The historical tour included visits to the Library of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court building, walking the National Mall and visiting the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the World War II Memorial and seeing the White House.  
The cadets especially enjoyed spending a day at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center.  Here the CAP members viewed a 3-D IMAX film about “D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy” and saw a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde, the Enola Gay, the space shuttle Discovery and many other aircraft and space artifacts.  Several CAP members enjoyed the museum’s interactive flight simulators which let them fly jet-age combat sorties where they controlled the action and performed 360-degree barrel rolls!  They also tried their skills at air-to-air combat in an F-4 Phantom II jet fighter simulator.
After the simulators, the squadron went up in the museum’s Observation Tower which provided a bird's eye view of Washington Dulles International Airport and the surrounding area.  From the Tower, they watched planes take off and land from Dulles Airport and listened to the radio traffic between the pilots and the control tower.
The squadron also toured several other Smithsonian Institution museums including the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History.  Seeing the Hope Diamond for the first time was a delight for several cadets.
On Friday night, June 19th, the squadron members attended the 8th and I Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C.  The event was a thrilling performance of music and precision marching.  It featured the U.S. Marine Band, the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, and LCpl “Chesty” XIIII, the official (bulldog) mascot of the Marine Barracks Washington.
On Saturday, June 20th, the squadron toured Arlington National Cemetery.  At Arlington, they saw the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, President John F. Kennedy’s grave, Arlington House, the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater, and the United States Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) War Memorial.
During the trip, the CAP cadets learned many practical lessons such as how to ride the D.C. Metro (get on and off really fast!) and how to inspect the CAP van for safety every day prior to departure. 
While in uniform, the CAP members enjoyed meeting all the current and former CAP members from around the nation who wanted to talk about CAP.  E.g., Congressman Barry Loudermilk from the 11th District of Georgia stopped to talk with squadron members at the Capitol and was effusive in his praise of his days in CAP.     
The Orange County Composite Squadron thanks Capt Pete Wehr for driving the squadron and the Winston-Salem Composite Squadron for loaning us their CAP van for this fun and exciting trip.