Submitted by Deante Dowdell
Editor’s note – In the spirit of Take our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, Deante Dowdell, son of Maj. Richelle Dowdell, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Current Operations, spent April 22 at the Pentagon with his mom. Deante, who is 13, shares a unique take on his experience as documented below. We’re pleased to present our youngest blogger on Air Force Live.
I spent “Take Your Child to Work Day” with my mom. It was pretty cool, but it wouldn’t have been as cool if she didn’t work at the Pentagon. You see my mom works in Air Force Public Affairs which basically means she is the press for the Air Force. She takes care of publicizing big Air Force events, media coverage, and making sure that the big Air Force figures represent the best that they can be. Her job is pretty cool. She gets to go to cool places and events, and she gets to meet famous people like the person who sings that song that’s stuck in your head but can’t remember the name of.
Anyway, on “Bring Your Kid to Work Day” [April 22] my mom was initially going to take my sister but she wanted to go to the school where my dad works because she wanted to see her friends there, so my mom was stuck with me. Hey, I was okay with that because I like visiting the Pentagon. It’s so big and cool and complex and there is so much stuff packed into it. It’s a wonder the people fit in. Plus today was Earth Day so I was wondering if the Pentagon even celebrated Earth Day. So we jumped in the car (after we got some clothes on of course PJs aren’t formal at the Pentagon), grabbed a slugger from the commuter lot, hopped in the H.O.V. and headed off to the Pentagon.
So we get to the Pentagon, dropped off the slugger – whose name I don’t know – and checked in to the Pentagon. My mom took me into her office and proceeded to introduce me to every person in her office by name’s which I proceeded to forget but that’s okay we are all still friends.
After my formal and forgetful introductions, my mom and I made a breakfast and coffee run for the office – I guess it was her turn. We walked to one of the many and bigger food courts in the Pentagon. When we got there I knew I had a very tough decision ahead of me: Which fast food restaurant should I choose to eat at? The BK? Subway? The place I’ve never heard of before in my life? My goodness, the choices were nearly endless. I decided to chose BK because in the end I knew I needed energy for today, though when it comes to most fast food companies that translates to sugar and fat so you know I had to pick the best option.( BK, you know I love you.)
We took the coffee and food back to the office and my mom got called to an important meeting. I could not go to so I waited at her desk. After two minutes my short attention span took over, and I tried to entertain myself. After about 10 minutes I had done everything I could in an office without breaking something and that in itself was becoming a temptation. Finally one of my mom’s co-workers wanted to take me to a tree-planting ceremony that was being held in the courtyard for Earth Day. She took me out there and on the way she explained how 40 other trees were being planted on Air Force bases around the world. So the camera man set us up for the best camera angles and lighting and other stuff. The important people gave important speeches and poured important dirt on the important tree – it was all very important. I was asked to pour some dirt on the important tree. I had my picture taken doing it; it was pretty cool to say the least.
The party didn’t stop after that for me and my mom. After a quick stop at the office she then took me to a session of media training for some guy who was probably important – he certainly looked the part and that’s what counts isn’t it? Basically media training is where important people in the military learn how to deal with that collective-minded press and paparazzi. When we got there she introduced me to all the camera men and women and the people behind the scenes. It was basically a mock press conference about the release of a new MRAP (mine-resistant, armor-protected vehicle) in Afghanistan. It went pretty good considering the reporters knew him and the subject inside and out. My mother has taught him well I guess.
After that we went back to my mom’s office to see what other exciting activities we had planned for the rest of our fun-filled day. These activities consisted of making a quick lunch run down to the Popeye’s in the food court mentioned earlier and watch my mom type on a computer for about 30 minutes. After a while, someone across the office asked my mom to assist with developing some talking points for the upcoming premier of the Iron Man 2 movie. I thought that meant that she was going to the premiere of the movie, so I asked her if I could come too. She then crushed and shattered my dreams by explaining that developing talking points of the event meant she didn’t go to it. (I am mad they changed the actor who played Rhodey in the first movie but will just see what the new guy does.)
The final test of all the knowledge I accumulated over my day as a child PA was a daunting one. One I doubted I would survive. It would push my limits both physically and mentally. After nearly completing this assignment I doubt I will look at anything the same way ever again. The labor was terrible and frightening but the fruit it produced is beautiful and satisfying. So what was this daunting task I am talking about? Well, you’re reading it.
Photo Caption: Thirteen-year-old Deante Dowdell, son of Maj. Richelle Dowdell, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, shovels soil onto a Valley Forge American elm as part of “40 Trees in 40 Communities” April 22 at the Pentagon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott Ash)