Operation District Drilldown

Veterans building garden bed for Fort Dupont Park and Community Garden

Volunteer for Operation District Drilldown

Washington DC is so much more than the nation’s capital. Beyond the shadows of some of our country’s most symbolic and iconic monuments reside the residents of a proud and productive city. The District boasts many communities with opportunities for growth and subsequent challenges in making progress. 

The 2023 Mass Deployment – also known as Operation District Drilldown – took place Friday, June 23-Tuesday, June 27. We served alongside more than 10 community partner groups at six locations in Washington DC’s Wards 7 & 8. Project locations include Anacostia Park, Fort DuPont Park, The Douglass Community Center, Kramer and Sousa Middle Schools, and Anacostia High School.  

Fort Dupont Park and Community Garden 

Day one of Operation District Drilldown took place at Fort Dupont Park and Community Garden. Originally developed as part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington and named for Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont, the garrison and guns never saw battle. In the 1930s, a golf course was constructed and as the city grew, golf gave way in 1970 to the sports complex along Ely Place that now includes tennis and basketball courts, athletic fields, and a softball diamond. An indoor ice rink offers skating all winter. Where soldiers once looked out over farmlands, park visitors now grow fruits and vegetables in the community garden.  

Together with our partners, we spent the day: 

  • Clearing and helping maintain trails 
  • Repairing road around garden with fresh gravel 
  • Offering assistance and materials to fix up garden plots/fences – offered seating options and garden bed options 
  • Building new benches for the community

Douglass Community Center

Day two of Operation District Drilldown took place at the Douglass Community Center. One of the oldest community centers in Ward 8. The Friends of Douglass CC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization participating in the Department of Parks and Recreation “Park Partners Program”. They are the community based organization representing the interests of the Douglass Community Center. Friends of Douglass CC provides programs and activities that surrounds the community with an abundance of positive attitudes and choices to help them reach their greatest potential and has partnered with The Mission Continues since 2015.

Together with our partners, we spent the day: 

  • Building a wooden pergola and green house structure for the community garden
  • Installing trash cans and bag dispensers for dog walkers
  • Revitalizing the community center building by touching up murals and fully repainted the exterior of the building
  • Resurfacing the baseball diamond

Sousa Middle School 

Day three of Operation District Drilldown took place at John Phillp Sousa Middle School. This is a Title I school in Ward 7 with the vision of having students prepared to succeed in any high school of their choice as leaders in the quest for social justice. The school offers Academic Enrichment Programs that include Advanced Placement English 6, Computer Science and Robotics, Reading and Math Acceleration, African American Studies, as well as additional programs focused on Wellness and Fitness, Arts and Culture, and Special Education. Additionally, the school has a partnership with the University of DC which provides an Ag-Tech program to teach students how to grow food to supplement their diets and prepare them for further education and employment in STEM-related career fields. 

Together with our partners, we spent the day: 

  • Repainting the school’s front office, lobby, and reception area
  • Repainting the basketball court
  • Building additional garden beds 
  • Building picnic tables

Kramer Middle School & Anacostia High School

Stephen E. Kramer Middle School is a Title I school in Ward 8 committed to providing a quality school experience offering a STEM Lego Robotics Program, a Restorative Justice Program, as well as Academic Enrichment Programs such as Read 180, Wellness and Fitness programs, Arts and Culture, and Special Education. Additionally, the school has a partnership with the University of DC which provides an Ag-Tech program to teach students how to grow food to supplement their diets and prepare them for further education and employment in STEM-related career fields. 

Anacostia High School is a Title I school in Ward 8 focused on empowering students to rethink systems and structures by promoting integrity, social equity, and economic prosperity through offerings such as programs with a focus on Advanced Placement Courses, Project Lead the Way, DC College Success Foundation, National Honors Society, Study Abroad, and a National Academy Foundation (NAF) Academy. Additionally, the school has a partnership with the University of DC which provides an Ag-Tech program to teach students how to grow food to supplement their diets and prepare them for further education and employment in STEM-related career fields. 

Together with our partners, we are spent the day: 

  • Building and adding soil for garden beds 
  • Building a wooden pergola
  • Building 3-bin compost system 
  • Improving teacher spaces- breakrooms/lounges 
  • Repainting classrooms, hallways, offices, and front entry of the school
  • Building and painting picnic tables

Anacostia Park

Day five of Operation District Drilldown took place at Anacostia Park. The appointment of the McMillan Commission by the U.S. Congress in 1901 set the stage for the development of Anacostia Park. The reclamation of the Anacostia River and its transformation into a public park was an ambitious plan that would take several decades to complete. Many Washingtonians visit the park and take advantage of the many facilities and recreational activities available. Examples include roller skating at the covered rink, fishing, walking, running, or biking along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, boating, playing sports or working out at the Fitness Station, or picnicking at various locations throughout the park. 

Together with our partners, we spent the day: 

  • Refreshing the baseball courts
  • Creating shaded seating by building and placing benches along walking trail
  • Engaging community members in painting concrete benches
  • Prepared concrete pads for future BBQ grill installations

Operation District Drilldown Impact Goals

  • Engaged 100+ veterans from across the United States
  • Engaged 100+ local Washington, DC-area veterans
  • Completed 60+ projects in support of the DC community, partnering with local organizations providing direct services and support to numerous communities in The District
  • Engaged 100+ community members in service alongside our veterans
  • Contribute approximately $200,000 worth of community service to DC over the course of 5 days

What is Mass Deployment?

This electrifying team-based service event brings together veterans, local partners, and volunteers in a single city for an entire week of non-stop action. 

We carefully select locations that are in need of a boost, where our resources and efforts can create sustainable change for the long-term. Since 2016, we’ve deployed over 600 veterans to major cities across the US, including Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Houston, and Chicago. 

Washington, DC Mass Deployment, aptly named Operation District Drilldown, was our 7th Mass Deployment, and we’re just getting started! 

Our Mass Deployments aren’t just about making a difference in the community – they also serve as an opportunity to inspire future leaders and encourage more veterans to take on new roles of service. Watch this exhilarating movement unfold as veterans as local partners and volunteers create positive change, and inspire others to serve as well! 

Why DC? 

Although the District is made up of nearly 800,000 residents in 131 neighborhoods, there are communities that The Mission Continues has been serving for nearly a decade that made this Mass Deployment decision an easy one. Anacostia has a rich and proud history of culture grounded in generational legacies and passion to tackle ongoing systemic challenges, making this neighborhood the type of community that The Mission Continues is honored to partner alongside. This eastern section of the District was the last area of DC to urbanize, and therefore still boasts an open riverfront and national parks with an abundance of wildlife, all right alongside the sprawling headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security. The 19th-century structures and notable civil war history also give this area historical significance that is locally celebrated.   

In total, there are more than 31,000 veteran residents of Washington, DC, and tens of thousands more in surrounding Virginia and Maryland. Our DC Service Platoon has been active in the city since 2013, connecting these veterans and nonveteran supporters with committed and visionary community partners. 

Support the Mission

Make a Donation

If you would like to support our future missions, including our next mass deployment, please consider making a donation. We will make sure to put it to use!


Follow Us on Social

We are always updating our community about new opportunities with our leadership programs and service projects. Follow us on Facebook, as well as on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Follow on Facebook

Learn About Our Impact

We continue our mission all year round with various types of service projects, impacting our communities and the veterans who continue to serve.

Impact Stories

Read about Our Impact

Operation District Drilldown Partners

Washington DC Platoon Partner