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Naval Support Facility Thurmont, popularly known as Camp David, is a mountain-based military camp in Frederick Countymarker, Marylandmarker used as a country retreat and for high alert protection of the President of the United States and his guests.

First known as Hi-Catoctin, Camp David was originally built as a camp for federal government agents and their families, by the WPA, starting in 1935, opening in 1938. In 1942 it was converted to a presidential retreat by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and renamed U.S.S. Shangri-La. Camp David received its present name from Dwight Eisenhower, in honor of his grandson, Dwight David Eisenhower II.

The camp is very isolated and quiet. The compound consists of several cabins hidden throughout the woods, connected only by both small mulch and paved walking paths. These cabins are all named after various trees, plants, and flowers. There is only one main road on the compound, essentially cutting the camp in two parts: one side in which the Marines live (the other branches live off-camp), eat and train; and the other side consisting of all the guest cabins and presidential recreational facilities.

Navy operations

Camp David is a United States Navy installation, commanded by a Naval Commander. Sailors are mostly Seabees and most officers are in the civil engineering field. The Navy Seabee Detachment performs maintenance and beautification. The sailors must undergo a "Yankee White" level background check, which involves passing the most rigorous background check conducted by the Department of Defensemarker (DOD). The sailors are hand-picked for their service at Camp David, and are among the best of the U.S. Navy. Some of the sailors include: grounds and maintenance personnel, electricians, carpenters, corpsmen, and the President's cooks .

The Camp is alleged to be one of the most secure facilities in the world, as reported by a Department of Defense journal in 1998. The facility is guarded by one of the United States Marine Corps' most elite units, MSC-CD (Marine Security Company, Camp David). Each Marine is hand-picked from the infantry field and sent through a battery of psychological and physical tests. Selected Marines must then undergo specialized security training at the Marine Corps Security Forces School in Chesapeake, Virginiamarker. The candidates then report to the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.marker, where they provide protection for the barracks, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Naval Operations. Assuming a Marine successfully completes his "pre-assignment" in Washington, they still must undergo the "Yankee White" background check. Only then is the candidate eligible for assignment to Camp David. After twelve months of service at Camp David, a Marine is awarded the Presidential Service Badge. Tours of duty at Camp David typically last for 18 months.

Presidential use

Every president since Franklin Roosevelt has made use of Camp David. Roosevelt hosted Sir Winston Churchill in May 1943. Dwight Eisenhower held the first cabinet meeting there. John F. Kennedy and his family often enjoyed horseback riding and other recreational activities. Kennedy often allowed White House staff and cabinet members to use the retreat when he or his family was not there. Lyndon Johnson often met with important advisors at the retreat and hosted Australian Prime Minister Harold Holtmarker. Richard Nixon was a frequent visitor and did much to add and modernize the facilities. Gerald Ford often rode his snowmobile around Camp David and hosted Indonesia President Suharto. Jimmy Carter brokered the Camp David Accords here in September 1978 between Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Ronald Reagan visited the retreat more than any other president. Dorothy Bush Koch, the daughter of George H.W. Bush was the first person ever to be married there in 1992. Bill Clinton increasingly used Camp David more as his tenure in office progressed, and hosted Great Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair on several occasions in addition to numerous celebrities. George W. Bush hosted dignitaries including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2007.

Analogous facilities

Analogous facilities include:


Image:Camp David 29-0054a.gif|George H. W. Bush meets with his National Security advisors in the Laurel Lodge conference room on August 4, 1990.Image:Camp David 4 p37126-25a-515h.jpg|George W. Bush meets with his advisors at Camp David on January 17, 2004, while preparing for his State of the Union address.Image:CAMPDAVIDIRAQ.jpg|From Camp David, Vice President Dick Cheney and members of the Interagency Team on Iraq participate in a video teleconference with President George W. Bush in Baghdadmarker, Iraqmarker.Image:Georgebushjuly2007campdavid.jpg| President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten walk together with the President's dog, Barney, at Camp David, July 21, 2007.Image:Shinzo Abe & George W Bush, 2007Apr27.jpg|Shinzo Abe and George W. Bush at Camp David in 2007.Image:NIXONSCAMPDAVIDwithdogs.jpg|Richard and Pat Nixon walking their dogs in Camp David.Image:Begin, Carter and Sadat at Camp David 1978.jpg|Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter, and Anwar Sadat at Camp David, September 7, 1978.Image:Menahem_Begin_poses_at_Camp_David_1978.jpg|Menachem Begin poses at Camp David, 1978.Image:Camp David, Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat, 1978.jpg|Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat with U.S. president Jimmy Carter at Camp David in 1978.Image:Carter and Sadat.jpg|President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, and Jimmy Carter meet at the beginning of the Camp David Summit in 1978.Image:Sadat Carter Begin, Camp David 1978.gif| Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter, and Menachem Begin meet on the Aspen Lodge patio of Camp David on September 6, 1978.Image:President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Camp David 1986.jpg|British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan walk at Camp David in 1986.Image:Thatcher Reagan Camp David sofa 1984.jpg|British Prime Minister Thatcher and President Reagan sitting in Aspen Lodge, 1986File:David Eisenhower in Camp David.jpg|David Eisenhower (age 12), grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, poses with sign at presidential retreat named in his honor, 1960Image:Camp_David_1959.jpg|Main Lodge during Eisenhower administration, 1959

Image:NSC_meeting.jpg|President Dwight D. Eisenhower meets with his Cabinet at Laurel Lodge, 1955

See also


  1. History of Camp David: A brief history of the Presidential mountain retreat and its famous guests by David Johnson
Prodell, Nathan M. USMC. Former Corporal of the Guard at Camp David during the Clinton Administration

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