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Date(s) - 11/09/2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Reinsch Library Auditorium, Marymount University


This program is free and open to the public. You can attend via Zoom or in-person. See details below on both ways to attend.

After terrorist attacks in September 2001, media incorrectly reported that all aircraft had been grounded for the first time in history. During Skyshield, a series of three national defense exercises from 1960 to 1962, all airlines and private aircraft in the continental U.S. and Canada were grounded during a simulation of an aerial attack. The results and lessons of Skyshield were censored and eventually forgotten. Retired Smithsonian journalist Roger Mola will talk about his research on this military operation and its impact on Arlington and its environs. He’ll talk about how National Airport and Arlington fit in to war game planning and were impacted by war games like this one.

Roger A. Mola is a journalist retired from Air & Space/Smithsonian Magazine. He has more than 1,000 published articles in aviation and aerospace spanning history, technology, and business. In 2002 Roger was honored as Aviation Journalist of the Year in the category of Breaking News, for his coverage of the National Airspace System after the attacks of September 2001 forced a national grounding of traffic, comparing it to previous groundings during the 1960s defense exercise Operation Skyshield. Roger moved to Arlington in 1983 after earning a B.S. at Cornell University.

Air traffic controllers from NORAD take over the civilian positions in the tower at Washington National Airport during the Skyshield exercise in 1961. (National Archives and Records Administration)

PREREGISTER FOR ZOOM ACCESS. You can attend this event on either Zoom or in-person on the Marymount University Main Campus in the library auditorium.  If you want to attend this event virtually, please register using this link.  You can also cut and paste the following URL into your browser: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdgxtST_FZhi87ROcJv52I7Fr79uS-l7hDW0x73Czyas4ammQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

Please register by Wednesday, November 8:  Zoom access information will be sent to you on the morning of the event on Thursday, November 9.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS and FREE PARKING: Attendees planning to attend the event in-person should enter the Marymount University campus at the library gate on N. 26th Street. From Glebe Road going north, take a right onto 26th Street. Pass the intersection with Yorktown Road and then enter the campus through the next gate on your left. The library is to your left as you enter the campus. Free garage parking is just past the library at the bottom of the small incline. (Handicapped parking is immediately to your right as you enter the campus.)

  • If the university has lowered the garage gates, push the button and let them know you’re here for an Arlington Historical Society event in the library. To leave, push the button and they’ll raise the gate.

This event is one of the monthly free public programs sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society. For more information, please email: info@arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org.