News: Joint Civilian Orientation Conference comes to Fort Campbell
Story by Sgt. Scott Davis
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - More than 40 civilian community leaders within the nation visited Fort Campbell, Sept. 22 as part of a program to give a better understanding to Americans as to what their military does on a daily basis.
The participants of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference visited one installation from every branch of the military to gain a better idea as to how their military operates. Fort Campbell was chosen to represent the U.S. Army.
The community leaders went through several stations that displayed training or equipment set up by soldiers so they could visually take in a few jobs in the Army. They were able to experience the Air Assault School, counter-improvised explosive device training and equipment, explosive ordinance device training and equipment and a medic field training exercise.
“My level of education increased exponentially as we undertook a number of field exercises to include looking at ways technology is being used to detect IEDs,” said Dr. David Wilson, president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. “We also had a great conversation with soldiers here on base. They told us about their experiences and it was clear to see how they were serving our country in a very patriotic, energetic and obviously skilled way.”
Although they were given a lot of insight as to how soldiers operate they also got to have a little fun during their visit.
“We started the morning activities with a ride on a Black Hawk helicopter which was a phenomenal experience,” said Wilson. “That’s the first time I’ve been on a helicopter ever and to have my first ride be on one of the elite helicopters was just an awesome experience.”
The result of their trip seemed to be unanimous by all of the participants.
“It’s been a marvelous day and that’s an understatement,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports. “Our entire group is buzzing about the day we have had here. Just from the personnel we met and their dedication, patriotism and the spirit they displayed here today. It’s very humbling.”
The JCOC is a program sponsored by the Secretary of Defense for civilian public opinion leaders interested in growing their knowledge of the military and national defense issues.
“I think this visit increased my appreciation of what our men and women do in the military every single day. I can tell you being a civilian and not seeing what they do on a day-to-day basis makes it hard to know,” said Bodenheimer. “I think it will increase ESPN’s dedication to continue to serve our military with various programs and I think I’m going to absorb the overwhelmingly and extremely worthwhile experience I’ve had here.”