DC National Guard opens new storefront recruiting office in bustling DC neighborhood

The grand opening of the D.C. Army National Guard’s new recruiting station in Northwest D.C. on March 18, 2022. (WTOP/Acacia James)

The D.C. Army National Guard has opened a new recruiting office on 14th Street NW near the intersection with Florida Avenue NW, a location it hopes will be more accessible for people wanting to speak with recruiters.

Until today, the Army National Guard only had an office at the armory in Southeast DC. The last storefront recruiting office was located on Georgia Avenue but closed in 2010. The D.C. National Guard expects to benefit from the foot traffic with the new location.

“We’re hoping with the foot traffic and the driving traffic, more people will see and know of us. The armory’s kind of off on its own, and people see it as a large building that they might not really know it’s there,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Amber Ellison, commander of DCNG’s Army National Guard recruiting and retention battalion.

However, she said if it’s easier for people to come to the armory, that can still be arranged.

“There is controlled parking at the armory, and then there’s also a controlled security entrance and so it might be easier to come here for some people, but if the armory works better, we’re always willing to meet at the armory as well,” Ellison said.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Sherrie McCandless has lived in the D.C. area for 18 years. She said the new location helps to integrate the agency with community.

“I think we just become more integrated into what’s happening. Nobody has to drive out and try to figure out what the D.C. National Guard is about,” McCandless said.

She also acknowledged that the location makes it more reachable for people who just want to get information.

“I think it’s about accessibility to the people that we want to communicate with,” she said. McCandless pointed out that a lot of people in the area don’t drive and that the location was accessible through the Metro.

“Not everybody has a driver’s license, a lot of people use the metro, so we really want to access that part of our diversity. We want to celebrate the fact that anyone who wants to come and talk to us is welcome to come and then just find out if it’s the right for them,” McCandless finished.

“Having this recruiting center here in a really vibrant part of town — right here on 14th Street — is critically important to accessing our community, and making sure that as we get new recruits into the D.C. National Guard, we’re pulling from the community that the guards serve,” said director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Christopher Rodriguez.

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