In addition to being Head of State and Commander in Chief, the President also serves as an official host and representative of the United States. The White House Military Office plays an important role in this effort by helping the First Family maintain a gracious home -- both in Washington, D.C., and at Camp David, the presidential retreat.
Marines at the White House
Two Marine Corps Sentries guard the entrance to the West Wing of the White House.
White House Aides
The President and First Lady often host formal events at the White House for invited guests. During these important occasions, men and women chosen from the five branches of the military provide special help to ensure that each guest feels comfortable. These Social Aides are present at state dinners, luncheons, teas, arrivals, and seasonal celebrations, where their duties include greeting, escorting, and announcing guests. Social Aides must know many facts about the White House and its history so they can answer guests' questions.
Other members of the White House Military Office, known as Military Aides, work with the United States Secret Service and the Pentagon to ensure the President's security and comfort, particularly when he's away from home. They see he gets where he needs to go and has a safe place to sleep. And when serving the Commander in Chief, the Military Aides spend a lot of time either on the road or preparing to travel. Both Military and Social Aides must pass many tests and have good military records.
Clinton in Camp David
President Clinton gives his weekly Radio Address from Camp David.
Located 70 miles from the White House in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, Camp David was established in 1942 as a place for the President to relax and entertain. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted to escape the summer heat of Washington, D.C., and the higher altitude of the Camp provided cool breezes and good security. President Roosevelt called the Camp "Shangri-La" after the mountain kingdom in James Hilton's book Lost Horizon. It was renamed Camp David in 1953 by President Eisenhower in honor of his grandson.
The Camp is operated by Navy personnel, and troops from the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., provide permanent security. Marine One carries the President during the half-hour helicopter ride from our Nation's capital. Guests at Camp David can enjoy a pool, putting green, driving range, tennis courts, gymnasium, and the many guest cabins -- Dogwood, Maple, Holly, Birch, and Rosebud, to name a few. The presidential cabin is called Aspen Lodge.
Camp David has been the site of many historic international meetings. It was there, during World War II, that President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill planned the Allies' invasion of Europe. President Jimmy Carter also chose the site for the meeting of Middle East leaders that led to the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt.
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