Thursday, December 8, 2016

10 interesting facts about the U.S. Pentagon

The Pentagon is a large complex that serves as the central hub of the United States military. Built in 1941, today the building plays a very important role in U.S. operations. There are 25,000+ people (military, civilian and contractors) who occupy the building on any given day.  
By David B. Gleason from Chicago, IL - The Pentagon, CC BY-SA 2.0,
As you approach the Pentagon you can't help but be impressed by its magnificent presence. While a highly recognizable building, there are probably some things many people don’t know about the Pentagon.

10 interesting facts about the US Pentagon

1. The building itself is huge. There are five floors above ground and two floors underneath. If you walk around the outside perimeter of the building, you’ll have walked close to a mile. Each side of the Pentagon is 921 feet long. The building itself sits on 29 acres – 34 acres if the courtyard is included. This doesn't include the vast areas allotted for parking. 

2. Build for the Pentagon began on Sept. 11, 1941 and was completed less than two years later, on January 15, 1943. With the supply shortages associated with World War II, steel was in high demand, so it is primarily made from concrete – 435,000 tons of it. Due to this, architects designed the building as short instead of tall. Enough steel was saved to build a battleship. 

3. There are 17.5 miles of corridors housed within the Pentagon’s walls. 

4. The original U.S. military complex was planned to be in Washington DC’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood. However, once built, the new building was quickly deemed to be too small to house the department and DoD (then called the War Department) was split across 17 buildings. The original building later was given as a home to the U.S. State Department.

5. The land where the Pentagon sits used to be an airfield called Hoover Field. This first metro area airport was deemed to be unnecessary once the National Airport was built in the early 1940s. The War Department would go on to acquire the land.  

6. For a time, the Pentagon was the only non-segregated building in Virginia. Originally, it was designed to be segregated which is why it was constructed with twice as many bathrooms than needed for the number of employees. There are 284 rest rooms in the building.

7. There are 131 stairways, 13 elevators and 19 escalators in the complex.

8. Physically, the Pentagon is located on the Virginia side of the Potomac River in Arlington County, however, each department has a Washington D.C. mailing address – there are six zip codes in the Pentagon – 20301 (Secretary of Defense), 20318 (Joint Chiefs of Staff), 20310 (United States Army), 20330 (United States Air Force), 20350 (United States Navy) and 20380 (United States Marine Corps). A whopping 1,200,000 pieces of mail are sent and received monthly.

9. Did you know you can move between any two points in the Pentagon in about 10 minutes? This was designed intentionally to make things more efficient, but it seems the building’s vast size wasn’t in that thought process. Story has it at least a couple of high-ranking officials have gotten lost from time to time trying to find their way to or from their offices. The building is truly that big. 

10. Visitors can tour the facility (there are steps people have to take in arranging one). Did you know the Pentagon also boasts several historic exhibits equivalent to many museums? During a guided tour, visitors will see these and many more features showcased in the Pentagon. 

I’ve been in the building a few times and was truly amazed at its size. It’s a wonder to imagine all the activity going on behind those closed doors in each section and floor.

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