Before long assignment day arrived. Next to my name on the class roster was “902nd MI Group.” All I could find out about the 902nd was that it was an organization attached to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Army and was located at Baily’s Crossroads in Virginia, just west of the Pentagon. I found out it was also a stabilized tour. I then knew I would be working in the Washington, D.C. area until I left the Army and that I would wear civilian clothes to work each day. Being in mufti instead of a uniform was an unexpected perk.

Not long before graduation at USAINTS, I drove down to Baily’s Crossroads to where I was told the 902nd’s offices were. All I could find there was a small L-shaped suburban strip mall at a crossroads. I was certain I’d been given bum instructions either accidentally or on purpose as a ruse. After graduation I got a better address for the 902nd Headquarters where I was to report. Strangely, it was the same L-shaped strip mall I’d been directed to earlier. This time I noticed there was a second story to the building on the mall’s west side with unusual antennas on the roof.

I noticed a there was a spot on the lower level with a glass door, but no store behind it. Instead, there was a narrow staircase leading up to who knows what on the second story. I passed multiple surveillance cameras as I climbed the stairs. At the top I found a Mr. Parkinson, a Department of the Army civilian, and the administrative chief of the office. I was welcomed and told I would be technically attached to nearby Fort Meyer, assigned to the Counterintelligence Analysis Division of the 902nd, have an office elsewhere, and could rent an apartment with two other 902nd enlisted men anywhere we chose within commuting distance. This was my introduction to the world of Army spooks.