Western Hemisphere Military leaders experience American History at the NRA
Fairfax, Virginia -
Thousands of people make their way through the National Firearms Museum every year. The come in all shapes and sizes. Individuals, families and an interesting assortment of groups. When large enough, groups are usually provided with a guided tour of the museum ... much like the one received by representatives from the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) last year.
Created during World War II, the Inter-American Defense Board provides "member states with technical and educational advice and consultancy services on matters related to military and defense issues in the Hemisphere." The Washington, DC based operations welcomes everyone from Canada to Columbia.
"We have representatives here today from a number of hemispheric countries here today including Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Trinidad Tobago, Columbia and the Dominican Republic," said Colonel Matt Anderson, Director for Advisory Services at the Board. "I know I'm probably leaving a few out."
Arranged thanks to the efforts of IADB and the museum's own Caroline Simms, officials were provided with a touch of Americana ... a look at the history of the United States through the evolution of firearms. From muskets to Colts to contraptions based on Browning's best.
So why make the National Firearms Museum one their stops?
"Once every month or so we do a visit to military insulation for a professional military visit," explained Anderson. "We visit civilian organizations like the Museum of Natural History, a Washington Nationals baseball and the NRA National Firearms Museum. Different American cultural things that provides these guys with an appreciation of what it is like to live in the United States.
"Because we work in an international environment at the OAS (Organization of American States), they don't have many opportunities to experience what is America."
Almost fifty members of the IADB experienced our bit of America that day. Thanking Senior Curator Doug Wicklund for his insight and hospitality, Anderson presented the museum with a certificate of thanks, IADB challenge coins, and a translation of appreciation from his colleagues.
"Having a tour here was just terrific. A walk through history, a development of arms in the United States. I think it was very appropriate for our military guys to see that development through our history and take advantage of looking at the other wonderful exhibits."