Pentagon FAQ

Installation Info: Zip Code: 20301, Area Code: 703, DSN: 227

The five wedge-shaped sections comprise one of the most well-known architectural structures in the world, the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. defense establishment and nerve center for command and control of the worldwide U.S. military presence. A city unto itself, its 3.7 million square feet of office space could hold three times the floor space of the Empire State Building in New York City.

Constructed during the early years of World War II, it is still seen as a model of building efficiency. Although there are 17.5 miles of corridors, a person could walk between any two points in the complex in seven minutes. Originally seen as a temporary solution to the War Department's shortage of office space in 1941, the facility was completed in 1943 with an outlay of $83 million, 5.5 million cubic yards of earth, 41,492 concrete pilings and 435,000 cubic yards of concrete. The original site was a tract of land known as Arlington Farms, bordered by five roadways that dictated the pentagonal shape. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, fearing the building would interfere with the view of Washington, D.C., from the Arlington Cemetery, ordered the site moved three quarters of a mile downriver. The final design featured the stunning open-area court surrounded by the wedges that make up the Pentagon.

Visitors can view such exhibits as the 50th Anniversary of the Pentagon; Buffalo Soldier Exhibit; Berlin Wall Exhibit; Flag Corridor; Hall of Heroes; Hispanic Medal of Honor Display; Iron Curtain Display; Military Women's Corridor; Native Americans Display; POW/MIA Corridor; Presidents Corridor; Time/Life Art Corridor; Vietnam Women's Memorial Exhibit and many more. Food services include at least 12 cafeterias, snack bars and various-size restaurants and eateries. A Child Development Center provides day care, with a wait for most age groups. Three health clinics are available in the complex. Children attend local schools in several Northern Virginia districts.

A variety of recreational services are available to Pentagon personnel through organized non-appropriated fund programs sponsored by several DOD agencies. Employees can get more information by contacting the offices of the Headquarters Army Recreation, Headquarters USAF Recreation and the OSD/Joint Staff Welfare and Recreation. The Pentagon Officers Athletic Center is a membership club providing athletic and fitness facilities to military and civilian personnel, containing a Pro Shop and Grill Room dining facility. Unlimited cultural and recreational activities are available in the metro Washington, D.C., area.