I drove down to Dahlgren, VA two weeks ago for a series of meetings. I tried to blog about it that night, but, I was having issues with the internet. Dahlgren is a NAVSEA Weapons Testing Laboratory about an hour and a half south
of DC, and by golly I made it to the base with twenty minutes to spare before the meeting started. AND, I only had to call
Dan for directions once. It is also notable that I made it there at all, as I had only had my car for less than a week at that point, and had been driving a stick mildly successfully for just a handful of days.
I started driving around the base, searching for my building. The base is huge, and largely deserted. Also, most roads on the base are not on the visitor map I printed before leaving work the night before. I pass an airstrip on the right, not quite perpendicular to the road. The end of the runway is 15, maybe 20 feet from where I am. There's a sign right before I pass that says "WHEN LIGHTS FLASHING, DO NOT ENTER. LOW FLYING AIRCRAFT." I drove really quickly past the runway, like I do over railroad tracks, just in case. Would getting hit by an airplane be covered under the comprehensive or collision sections of my insurance policy?
After getting lost, and pulling some u-turns, and irritating some people who clearly knew where they were going, I found the road I needed to be on. Only problem was the sign saying "ROAD CLOSED WHEN LIGHTS FLASHING FOR WEAPONS TESTING." The lights were flashing.
I thought, "Hmmm....really? That CAN'T be real. Don't they do that out in, say, Utah? Maybe they did it here back in WWII, and besides, this is the only route I know to get to the building. I'm sure if they're really blowing things up that there will be a guard, or gate, or something to stop me." I kept going, ignoring the fact that obviously you're expected to take care of your own damn self here, given that it's your own damn fault if you get hit by an AIRPLANE.
At the next flashing "ROAD CLOSED" sign my self-preservation instinct kicked in, and I turned around. I went back to pulling u-turns, grinding my gears, and looking nervously at my clock as now I only had a few minutes to get to the meeting.
Then I heard the explosion.
Let's just say I'm glad I got the hell outta dodge back there.
So I finally find the building, and the conference room, and settle in for several hours of boredom. One of the meetings I had to sit through was a team's brief on a newly developed weapons system. I was distracted, though, and had trouble focusing on the number of rounds required for given lethality levels by the guy's large-print-and-very-prominently-displayed "WWJD?" lanyard.
Seriously?! What do you tell your kids in the morning? "OK, Jimmy. I know Bobby is a bully, but make sure you turn the other cheek. I'm going to work now to build better weapons so we can KILL MORE TERRORISTS! What's for dinner tonight, honey?"
I don't get to church a whole lot, but I'm pretty sure Jesus was a carpenter....not a combat systems engineer.