I had the honor of participating in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) last month. The program is sponsored by the Secretary of Defense for civilian public opinion leaders interested in growing their knowledge of the military and national defense issues. JCOC is the oldest existing DoD outreach program having been held more than 81 times since its inception in 1948. Below are memories from my week with the JCOC. You can see photos from my trip in our Facebook photo gallery or read more from my day-by-day journal of the trip.
Tuesday, July 24: Marine Recruits and Camp Pendleton
We got a 4:00am wake-up call and then went to the Marine recruit entry station. We were treated exactly like new recruits – intimidating as hell. Seriously, they gave us tons of hell. We marched, drilled, turned and learned how to make a bed or “rack” as they call it. We learn orders/responses like:
EYES – “click”
EARS – “open”
AYE AYE, SIR!!
Then we rappelled on the “big rope” and the normal rappelling rope. That was a new experience for most. Next was the Bayonet course. I was exhausted, hot, sore as hell in the knees from all the stairs yesterday on the ship.
Then we moved onto Camp Pendleton. We had lunch and then we met a three-star general. We shot laser-simulated M-240, bazookas, M-16s and a 50 Cal. Most people had never shot before. I had the highest score in the group with twelve kills and four vehicles blown up with a 50 Cal.
We visited the memorial garden area that honors various theater victims. We went on to the “immersion simulator” a fake village with all kinds of simulation, avatars, sensors, simulated IEDs and video recording and playback with animatronics to teach and practice decision-making skills. I met the head tech guy, gave him a card and told him about Sealevel. He is very interested in all our stuff to control and monitor some equipment they have in the building.
Then it was back to W Hotel and onto dinner. We had a ball at dinner – six of us and Florence. Julie had to go to the ER after bayonet course earlier. Lots of wine, good pizza and laughs.
In bed by 10:30pm that night. Dead tired.