Thursday, July 20, 2017

Red Oak Cabin

Mitch McConnell outside the Red Oak cabin in 1992 (Photo: National Archives - Shawn T. Moore )

The Red Oak cabin is one of the "VIP guest cabins" along with Birch, Dogwood, and Maple.  It was one of the original cabins and was rebuilt in 1973. During the 1978 Camp David peace negotiations, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan shared the two-bedroom cabin with three other Israeli officials.

In 2012, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stayed at the Red Oak cabin during the G8 Summit. Although the cabin assignments for the G8 Summit were never publicly announced, several months of online sleuthing and an FOIA request resulted in my blog post detailing the cabin assignments for all of the G8 leaders

The photos on this page were taken during a visit to Camp David in 1992 by the current Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

Bedroom inside Camp David cabin - 1992  (Photo: National Archives - Shawn T. Moore )

Interior of Camp David cabin - 1992  (Photo: National Archives - Shawn T. Moore )

Baltimore Sun
New York Daily News 

Friday, June 16, 2017

President Trump at Camp David

Aspen Lodge: The President's Cabin at Camp David



May 1 - 3
President Trump met with Administration officials at Camp David.

May 15 - 17
President Trump holds meetings at Camp David. In attendance: Kevin McCarthy, Mark Meadows,  GOP Reps. Dan Crenshaw (Texas), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Devin Nunes (Calif.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Lee Zeldin (N.Y.).




January 6
President Trump met with White House senior staff to discuss the administration's priorities for 2019.

June 22-23
President Trump met with his aides at Camp David over the weekend.

August 30 - Sept 1
President Trump went to Camp David for the weekend.

October 25-26
President Trump went to Camp David for Jared and Ivanka's 10th wedding anniversary party.

President Trump and Senator Rick Scott - 8/31/19
President Trump, Senator Scott, and senior staff at Hurricane Dorian FEMA briefing in Laurel Lodge - 8/31/19




January 5-7
President Trump met with GOP congressional leaders and members of his Cabinet to discuss 2018 legislative priorities.

President Trump meeting with congressional leaders in the Laurel Lodge - 1/5/18

Waiting for dinner to be served in Laurel Lodge - 1/5/18
President Trump at a news conference held in the hangar at Camp David - 1/6/18

June 1-3
President Trump spent the weekend at Camp David with some of his family: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Tiffany Trump. Heavy rain in the Washington area forced the president to return to the White House on Sunday afternoon via a 90-minute motorcade ride.


June 17-18
On June 17, 2017, President Trump became the 14th president to visit Camp David. The president, first lady, and son Barron stayed overnight in the Aspen Lodge and returned to the White House on Sunday afternoon. Melania's parents accompanied the First Family on the Father's Day weekend trip.

Melania tweeted this photo of the Aspen Lodge:

August 18
President Trump returned to the presidential retreat on August 18th for a national security meeting on the Afghanistan strategy.

President Trump and Vice President Pence outside Laurel Lodge.

National security meeting held in Laurel Lodge on Aug 18, 2017

August 25-27
On August 25th, President Trump's daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and grandchildren Arabella, Theodore and Joseph joined the First Family for a weekend trip to Camp David.

President Trump receiving an update on Hurricane Harvey via video teleconference on August 26, 2017

President Trump in a follow-up videoconference on Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Laurel Lodge

September 8-10
President Trump spent the weekend of Sept 8-10 at Camp David and hosted a full Cabinet meeting on Saturday, September 9th.

President Trump receives briefing on Hurricane Irma - Sept 10, 2017

December 16-17
President Trump spent the weekend of Dec 16-17 at Camp David and met with some members of his Cabinet: VP Pence, Sec. Shulkin, Dir. Mulvaney, Sec. Mnuchin, Sec. Carson, and Sec. Perdue.


2017:  June 17-18; August 18; August 25-27; September 8-10; December 16-17
2018:  January 5-7; June 1-3
2019:  January 6; June 22-23; August 30 - Sept 1; October 25-26
2020:  May 1-3; May 15-17

As of May 17, 2020
Total number of visits: 13
Total number of days at Camp David: 31

The Latest: Trump family flies to Camp David
Trump offers his review of Camp David 
The White House
Trump to host full Cabinet at Camp David
Public Pool

Friday, February 5, 2016

2015 Camp David Recruiting Video

There is a new Camp David recruiting video featuring NSF Thurmont Commander Jeff Deviney that was produced in 2015. The previous video featured Commander Russell Rang, who transferred to Naval Construction Group One as Chief Staff Officer in July 2015.

Learn more about working at Camp David

Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

President Nixon at Camp David

President Nixon looks out the window from inside the Aspen Lodge - Nov 22, 1972 (Nixon Library)

One of President Nixon's most notable contributions to Camp David is the swimming pool outside the Aspen Lodge. The existing swimming pool, which was built in the FDR era, was located on the other side of the retreat near the staff area. President Nixon wanted a new pool located in front of the Aspen terrace. This also happened to be the location of the underground bomb shelter which then had to be reinforced for an additional cost of $260K. The new pool cost around $240K, partly because the design called for matching the stone from the Aspen Lodge terrace, which required reopening the nearby quarry. The 40ft x 20ft pool was superheated so it could be used by President Nixon during the winter.

President Nixon added this swimming pool to Camp David 

President Nixon visited Camp David frequently and held many high-level meetings there. "I find that up there on top of the mountain, it is easier for me to get on top of the job" he once told reporters. Nixon visited the presidential retreat over 150 times. You can read about the details of his trips to Camp David in the Nixon Daily Diaries.

Under a 1970 master plan for Camp David, most of the FDR-era cabins were replaced and a new Laurel Lodge was built, which included a presidential office. A study was added to the Aspen Lodge and the screened porch was converted to a dining room. The Aspen bomb shelter was also redecorated with new beds, paint and furnishings.

President Nixon meets with his economic advisers in Augsut 1971 

President and First Lady Pat Nixon in Aspen Lodge at Christmas time in 1971 (Nixon Library)

Nativity scene at Camp David (Nixon Library)

Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, President Nixon, Maj. Gen. Alexander M. Haig Jr. discuss the Vietnam situation - 11/13/72

Nixon seated with Deputy Secy of Defense William P. Clements, Jr. in Aspen Lodge. 11/22/72 

President Nixon meets with his UN Ambassador George H.W. Bush in the Aspen Lodge in 1972

Nixon wearing his leather Camp David Jacket 12/11/71;    Nixon at Camp David 8/18/72  (White House photos)

In 1973, President Nixon invited Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev to Camp David as part of his first visit to the United States. Nixon gave the Soviet leader a 1973 Lincoln Continental as a welcome gift. According to Nixon's memoirs:

"He got behind the wheel and motioned me into the passenger seat. The head of my Secret Service detail went pale as I climbed in and we took off down one of the narrow roads that run around the perimeter of Camp David.... At one point there is a very steep slope with a sign at the top reading, 'Slow, dangerous curve'.... Brezhnev was driving more than 50 miles an hour as we approached the slope. I reached over and said, 'Slow down, slow down,' but he paid no attention. When we reached the bottom there was a squeal of rubber as he slammed on the breaks and made the turn.... 'You are an excellent driver,' I replied. 'I would never have been able to make that turn at the speed at which we were traveling.'" 
 View a short video clip of this event.

President Nixon with Soviet President Brezhnev next to the Aspen pond in June 1973

President Nixon presents Leonid Brezhnev with a 1973 Lincoln Continental in front of the Laurel Lodge

Former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower celebrates her 77th birthday at Camp David in the Aspen Lodge with Julie Nixon Eisenhower, David Eisenhower, and the President and First Lady - 11/10/73 (AP photo)


Nixon Presidential Library; Richard Nixon Foundation; White House; Clements Papers Project; AP; Nixonomics; National Archives; The President is at Camp David (W. Dale Nelson); @NixonLibrary

Monday, September 7, 2015

Wye Oak Fitness Center

Wye Oak fitness center at Camp David

The Wye Oak fitness center offers a broad range of exercise equipment including cardiovascular machines and free weights for strength training. When President Obama hosted the G8 Summit at Camp David in 2012, he invited British Prime Minister David Cameron to work out with him at the gym where they reportedly chatted side-by-side on the treadmills.  In addition to the exercise equipment, the retreat's fitness center also has an indoor pool and basketball court.

President Reagan at the Wye Oak fitness Center  

Indoor pool at the Camp David fitness center

Captain's Cup Dodge Ball at Leatherwood Court at Camp David


Obama opens up Camp David for rustic VIP sleepover
Seabees & President Reagan at Camp David
Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Camp David Recruiting Video

Camp David, officially known as Naval Support Facility (NSF) Thurmont, is an active Navy base staffed by Navy and Marine personnel.  A recruiting team from Camp David travels to various Naval facilities to search for sailors qualified to work at the presidential retreat.

Read more about what it's like to work at Camp David.

**Note: A new recruiting video was released later in 2015.  View it here.

Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Camp David Fire Department #51

One of the original purposes of the fish pond built in front of the Aspen Lodge was to provide a nearby water source in the event of a fire at the President's cabin. Over the years, there have been a number of fires at Camp David. In 1959, the White Pine maintenance building was destroyed in a fire. It was later rebuilt and contains a carpenter shop and a plumbing shop.  In 1969, a fire in President Nixon's small office in the Maple cabin broke out when someone tried to thaw out a frozen water pipe.

Camp David now has a full-time professional fire department  responsible for protecting 130 facilities at the retreat with many of the buildings being historical wooden structures with fireplaces inside.

Inside the Camp David fire station

This fire truck was built by E-One

In 2005, the U.S. Navy nominated the Fire Chief at Camp David for "U.S. Navy Military Fire Officer of the Year".  Some of his accomplishments included:

  • Identified significant equipment shortages on all firefighting apparatus and brought the equipment up to highest standards required for POTUS support.
  • Commanded the crash crew for all POTUS flight operations
  • Developed the plan to transition from the existing, mostly collateral-duty fire brigade concept to a full-time professional fire department with aviation and damage control rated personnel.
  • Identified training requirements for inbound personnel being reassigned to Camp David allowing members to receive Fire Fighter II, ARFF, and Hazardous Materials training prior to reporting for duty.

In 2007, the U.S. Navy nominated a Camp David firefighter for the "DOD Military Firefighter of the Year".  Some of his accomplishments:

  • Implemented a robust training program, created and maintained 13 training records for U.S. Navy Firefighters.
  • Supervised and led 15 Presidential helicopter arrivals and departures which included 75 helicopter training touch and go’s for HMX-1 Helicopter Squadron, H-1’s, H-3’s, SH-60’s, H-46’s, and H-53’s with zero mishaps.
  • Led the Command’s duty fire brigade in structural firefighting operations, aircraft crash and salvage procedures, hazardous material operations and CBRN operations.
  • Established the development and implementation of 42 maintenance shops and guest facility emergency action plans reducing fire department response times by 50 percent.

Camp David Fire Department Challenge Coin

Camp David has entered into a Mutual Aid Memorandum of Agreement with Frederick County Maryland for mutual aid in fire prevention, protection of life and property from fire, firefighting, rescue, and hazardous materials response. This agreement defines the rules for requesting and receiving aid in fighting fires at Camp David and in Frederick County.

Mutual Aid Memorandum of Agreement (full document)

Read more about the Navy Fire and Emergency Services program.


Camp David Tour; IAFC; Commander Navy Installations Command

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Vice President Dick Cheney at Camp David on 9/11

Vice President Cheney, Lynne Cheney and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Aboard Marine Two on September 11, 2001

In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the National Archives released a collection of photos of Vice President Dick Cheney on September 11, 2001. The photos show Cheney watching television footage of the World Trade Center attack in his office and meeting with senior members of the administration in the PEOC bunker six stories beneath the White House before heading off to Camp David aboard Marine Two.

The Cheneys arrive at Camp David on September 11, 2001

Vice President Dick Cheney in Laurel Lodge at Camp David on September 11, 2001


PBS; National Archives

Secretary of State John Kerry Hosts Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David

Secretary Kerry and Afghan President Ghani arrive at Camp David on March 23, 2015 (State Dept)

On March 23, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry hosted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and other key members of the Afghan Government at Camp David. The topics of discussion included security, economic development, and U.S. support for the Afghan-led reconciliation process. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew also participated in the meetings.

The photo above shows security standing guard as Secretary Kerry and President Ghani head off in their golf carts shortly after arriving at Camp David.

Secretaries Kerry, Carter and Lew and Afghan President Ghani and CEO Abdullah talk to reporters outside Laurel Lodge (State Dept)

Secretaries Kerry, Carter, and Lew eat lunch with Afghan President Ghani and CEO Abdullah in Laurel Lodge (State Dept)

Secretaries Kerry, Carter, and Lew meet with Afghan President Ghani and CEO Abdullah in Laurel Lodge (State Dept)

Secretary Kerry meets one-on-one with Afghan President Ghani in Holly Cabin (State Dept)

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Holly Cabin (State Dept)

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Afghanistan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi give remarks in the Hickory Theater at Camp David prior to signing a memorandum of understanding for financial capacity building and technical assistance.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr)

Secretary of State John Kerry, joined by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah, addresses reporters at a news conference in the Hackberry Hangar at Camp David (State Dept)

Overhead view of press conference held in the Hackberry Hangar. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr)

From left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Afghanistan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Camp David Commanding Officer Cmdr. Russell Rang, NSF Thurmont Senior Enlisted Leader Master Chief Constructionman Joe Maioriello and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani speak at the conclusion of a day of dialogue at Camp David.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr/(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr)

State Department, VOA News, Getty Images, U.S. Navy