More than 1,500 visitors came to the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM) last month to celebrate our Armed Forces and Police men and women. Children and adults enjoyed more than 30 attractions including games, hands-on crafts, and cryptologic challenges.
The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team was a new attraction this year. Five Sailors awed the crowd with a spectacular demonstration of skill and precision with M1903 Springfield rifles.
The World War II 4th Infantry Division Military Police Platoon was another new attraction this year. This reenactment group of the Military Vehicles Preservation Association brought several WWII vintage vehicles for visitors to climb into and inspect, weapons displays, and even a mock-up post office. At the request of one of the 4th ID reenactors, NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers happily climbed in front of the steering wheel of one of the jeeps for a photo op: a four-star Navy admiral sitting in an Army jeep doesn't happen every day.
Two members of the 200th Military Police Command, U.S. Army Reserve, brought a Humvee, tons of giveaways, and loads of information to tell people about what they do as military police and members of the Army Reserve. It gave people more appreciation for what these citizen warriors do for our nation.
Of course, they weren't the only military participants. Several members of the 700th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, U.S. Air Force, and Navy Information Operations Command Maryland came to greet visitors and share their stories of why they serve our nation in uniform and do the jobs they do.
The celebration would not have been a success without the participation of the NSA Police (NSAP). This year was their biggest participation to date. From the Bike Patrol Unit to the Mobile Command Center, Emergency Response Team with weapons display and pull-up bar, Weapons of Mass Destruction vehicle, Recruiting, a display with sobriety goggles, and the K-9 unit, the NSAP clearly had the largest footprint at the event. They allowed kids to crawl inside a modern police cruiser and blare the sirens and lights to get the feel of what it's like to respond to an emergency call. Grown-ups compared this vehicle to the 1977 Plymouth and 1989 Chevrolet Maryland State Police Cruisers on display: the evolution of police cars has come a long way!
Other new displays and exhibits included the Defense Media Activity, who brought their satellite truck so visitors could ham it up on camera or pretend they were news reporters. The SHAPE Fitness Center, NSA Waste and Recycling, and Cyclist Advocacy Network educated people about their organizations and services they provide to NSAers and the community.
Speaking of ham, the Ham Radio returned for the third year. People saw what it's like to set up and talk on ham radio. They also learned a little about the history of ham radio and the role it played in the past.
As the NCM increases its visibility in the community, a key goal is to increase the community's involvement in the event. A baseball corn hole game by the Y of Central Maryland, an information booth run by the Military Cyber Professionals Association, and performance by the Civil Air Patrol Col. Mary S. Feik Squadron, contributed to this goal along with the presence of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Central Maryland, Corsairs who participate every year by running a table, setting up and tearing down tables, chairs, and signs, and directing traffic flow.
And no event like this would be complete without food. The First Class Petty Officer Association provided hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and drinks, while the Optimist Club of Freedom District provided SNO cones. Kids earned free SNO Cones for visiting 20 of the activities and earning a star on their “Seek the Stars” sheet.
As NSA's principal gateway to the public, the NCM works every day to be a more visible member of the Ft. Meade and surrounding community in its efforts to educate all who walk through its physical or virtual doors about the history of cryptology and the agency. Events like the Armed Forces & National Police Celebration help bring people together to have fun and learn something about our history.
More photos of the day's event can be viewed on the National Cryptologic Museum Facebook page.
For more information about the National Cryptologic Museum, please visit their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/NationalCryptologicMuseum, or the National Cryptologic Museum webpage at NSA.gov.