Friday, July 29, 2011

Statement from Tom Garfinkel

This past week, I had the honor to be part of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, the oldest outreach program hosted by the Secretary of Defense. Together with 38 other civilian leaders, including
a former U.S. Attorney General, Deans and Presidents of Universities, Mayors of large cities and heads
of large foundations, businesses, associations, and healthcare institutions, we spent every waking hour
for five days immersed in the rigors and experiences of the men and women of the United States Marine
Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

Harry S. Truman once said, "America was built on courage and an unbeatable determination to do the
job at hand." This statement profoundly describes the spirit of every one of the men and uniform we met this past week, from Generals and Admirals to Privates and Seamen.

We began our journey at a dinner in Alexandria, Virginia, on the evening of Sunday, May 1. An Army
Colonel told us about a young Lieutenant who put himself in harm's way on the battlefield by replacing
the position of the Colonel in formation after gaining intelligence that the enemy had learned of the
Colonel's location. His loyalty to his Colonel and his Country cost the young Lieutenant his life, the
victim of an enemy sniper's bullet. His wife and children now continue to pay the price of the ultimate
sacrifice. The Colonel finished his story by telling us proudly and with as much sincerity as have ever
witnessed, "I am a United States soldier, and I will die for you." As I prepared to retire for the evening,
still thinking about the young Lieutenant, I turned on the television and learned that Osama Bin Laden
was dead.

Over the course of the next five days, we spent from 0530 to 2230 learning about our military. We met
with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Pentagon. We traveled to
Quantico, Virginia where we met the men and women of the United States Marine Corps and observed
and participated in the training of the Marines. We attended the Memorial at the Pentagon for the
victims of 9/11. We traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and met with the Army Rangers and took part
in war-game simulation and training. We consumed MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) for lunch with the
soldiers. We traveled to Joint Base McGuire-Dix, Lakehurst, New Jersey and learned about the Air Force
Expeditionary Center and the Air Force Ravens. We went to the Naval Submarine Base in New London,
Connecticut and learned about submarine warfare training. And we went to Coast Guard Sector Boston,
Massachusetts, and took part in Coast Guard rescue operations and search and seizure procedures.

We fired multiple types of weapons and participated in training exercises. We traveled on Air Force
planes and Marine helicopters, and we toured nuclear submarines and rode in Anti-Mine Vehicle Protection System (AMVPS) and amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) convoys. But most importantly, and certainly most impressively, we met and spent significant time with the men and women who have dedicated themselves so selflessly to service in the Marines, the Army, the Navy, the Air Free, and the Coast Guard. We learned about their way of life and why they serve. We heard their stories of courage, valor, and honor; and of hardship, loss, and sacrifice.

We heard stories about continuous and ubiquitous courage and valor that you could only imagine to
exist in Hollywood scripts; of young men in their early twenties willingly and without hesitation sacrificing their lives to save the lives of their fellow soldiers on the battlefield. We heard stories about soldiers and Marines losing limbs from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The first words out of their mouths to their comrades while lying on the ground with an arm or leg missing was always, "I'm sorry." Some of them have returned to battle to be with their fellow warriors and fight for their country; wearing prosthetic limbs. We heard stories about the proliferation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how one soldier's son told his Dad, "I haven't seen you smile in two years."

We heard stories about being gone for six months at a time, away from families and children. We heard stories of soldiers who have missed most of their kids' childhood; and children and spouses who go without a parent or spouse for long periods of time. We heard stories of married couples going a year or more without seeing each other because they are both on multiple deployments to different places. And we heard stories of those who didn't return from deployment; of the sacrifice of life itself and the impact it has on all of those left behind.

I read a political cartoon in the USA Today two days after Bin Laden was killed. It was a picture of two
soldiers, one reading about Bin Laden's death and commenting to the other, "Does this mean we get to
go home now?" After having spent the day with the Marine Corps Special Forces, it immediately occurred to me how unfortunately out of touch the cartoonist and Editor must be and how absurd the cartoon really was. In spite of their hardship and in spite of the multiple sacrifices they make, not one of the servicemen or women we met ever complained about anything. Not one of them had any hint of entitlement, martyrdom, self-pity, or fatigue. Every single person we met demonstrated pride, commitment, loyalty, honor, and respect for their command, their Country, their duty, and for each other. I

John F. Kennedy once said, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any
price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assume the survival and success of Liberty." The one percent of Americans who serve in the Armed Forces are living Kennedy's promise. They live it so that we can experience nearly ten years since 9/11 without a successful terrorist attack on our soil. They live it so that we can go to Little League games, and love and
laugh and play in peace. They live it so we can educate ourselves, worship as we choose, say what we
want out loud, and realize our dreams in a free society; whatever those dreams may be.

Relative to some other times in American history, citizens are supporting our troops with vigor. But the
ninety-nine percent of us who do not serve can always do more for those who do. There are multiple
organizations for us to give our time or money to who support our troops and their families who make
so many sacrifices. You can go to to learn more about organizations that support ,
our military. I encourage you to do something to actively support them - do it today. !

If you do nothing else, the next time you see a man or woman in uniform, simply walk up and say "thank

Tom Garfinkel
President and Chief Operating Officer
San Diego Padres Baseball Club
May 8, 2011

JCOC 80 Poem by Dr. Harris Pastides

Dedicated to a fantastic group of fellow travelers, the Men and Women of JCOC 80

We all met on a Saturday, an Armed Services adventure,
With very little detail on where we were to venture.

It started on a somber note, the day was 9/11,
We prayed for fallen heroes and raised our heads to heaven.

We left from Andrews Air force base, on a shiny limousine
But never had we seen this kind, our own C 17!

We oohed and aahed and snapped our photos of airmen very fine,
And better than any airport, not one security line!

First stop was San Diego, and the Navy was our host.
We took off on the Freedom, of that we will always boast.

It revved its massive engines, it took off like a jet,
But alas with no drug thugs around, we would not need to get wet.

And then we toured the Vinson, a carrier with much might,
And imagined ourselves landing and screeching out in flight.

Our limo whisked us off again to a cooler destination,
In five hours we had arrived, at Elmendorf Air Station.

We talked to many young officers who shared the Alaskan way,
And then the Air Force and Army shared us for an unforgettable day.

We witnessed aircraft scramble, intercepting was their role,
And we even did our own part, by slidling down the pole!

We sat right in a Blackhawk, as pilots we were faking,
But all we really wanted was to have our photo taken.

The low point of the trip was upon us, and it wasn't the high seas,
It was on the bus when they handed out...those dreaded MRE's!

The Soldiers armed our learned group, and presented us a thriller,
But little did they anticipate, we were all natural born killers!

We donned our armor, blew up doors, and climbed in all those Hummies,
We invaded suspect houses, and took out all the dummies!

It's a good thing that we fired blanks because we Rambo's would not be defeated,
If the M4s had been loaded, we would have returned very much depleted!

We witnessed 19 paratroopers practice making war,
Or were they just reclaiming the HumVee pushed out the door?

At night we were royally treated to dinner, music and wine,
And a beautiful well-trained eagle, who sat there so sublime.

On Tuesday we were dealt a blow by Mother Nature acting on cue,
Who sent the fog to Kodiak, and cancelled our overboard rescue.

No worry for our weary team, who cancelled their alarm from beeping,
By now our greatest passion, was for showering and sleeping!

The day was quickly reclaimed, by morning's early light,
with news from Our Coast Guard leader, the mighty Ryan White.

We got to know the Coast Guard as they told us of their roles,
And later went to Anchorage, to shop and eat and stroll.

On Wednesday we prepared ourselves, when waken from our dreams
For one whole day of dust and guns with the United States Marines

We saw much urban combat, and learned how to react
When bad guys mix with good ones in planning their attack

We fired guns with live ammo but marksmen we were not,
When the dust had cleared we were happy to see that no one had been shot!

And now back at the Pentagon, we prepare for our re-entry
From a journey so rewarding, and from bounties oh so plenty.

We are grateful in a new found way for our beacon Motherland,
And for all our unsung heroes, on sea, and air and land.

There is no way to repay this debt that provides us with our freedom,
We can barely even recognize the heroes' families burden.

So instead we will simply stand and salute those who we will never forget,
Airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, and the brave Coast Guard cadets.

We leave here as resolved Americans, our commitment much more weighty,
The fifty intrepid travelers now friends from Conference 80.

Harris Pastides
September 11-16, 2010

Memorial Day Message from Mr. Larry Feldman

To the men and women warriors of the United States Armed Forces,

          On this special day of remembrance, from the safety of our homes, thanks to you, we pause to remember you and those before you, as you continue to give your lives to ensure the safety of the United States of America.  Your unselfish sacrifices and acts of courage while in harm’s way, speaks of your love, patriotism, and loyalty to a country that puts freedom and those who fight for freedom as the highest calling here on earth.

          Today, as we celebrate your heroism through the recognition by President Obama <>  as he presented a Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor, to an Army sergeant who ran into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan.  Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta became the first living service member to receive the honor for action during any war since Vietnam.

          As the President called Staff Sgt. Giunta "a soldier as humble as he is heroic, "Giunta, symbolic of the all warriors said, "I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now."  We are reminded through his eyes, his actions, and his words of your daily trials, concerns, and core beliefs.  We are reminded how fragile your lives are and how much each of you performs heroic deeds every day.  We are reminded of your love of life and your compassion for others as he proclaimed that as a mediocre solider if he received the Medal of Honor can you imagine what our extraordinary warriors deserve.  

          And yet, we can do more than just thank you or remember you; we can continue to remember your dedication, commitment, integrity, and love of country.  We can remember that you, too, have personal families in addition to those that you serve with.  We can remember that you have earned the respect of a nation through your personal actions and not unsupported words.  We can remember to say a kind word each time we pass a warrior in uniform.  We can remember that we, as a country, owe you a “returned’ life, a meaningful and worthy job, and a health system that must provide you with unabated care; a care that is equally tied to your unabated service away from home.  We can remember that your children live with a ‘fear’ that we will never know, but one that we must understand and soothe.  We can remember that we have a responsibility to ensure that your children are taken care of, understood, and educated along as our own while you are away protecting us.  We can remember that we, too, have a mission and that is to care for your families until you come home.

          So on this day, I say thank you to the warriors of the United States Armed Forces that I met during JCOC 79; National Security Forum 2010; 482 Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Reserve Base; the Golden Knights, and USSOCOM, SOCSO.  And we as a nation offer you our heats and an equal dedication as we pray that the Lord will keep you in his countenance, grant you peace, and bring you home safely.  May God bless you all.

Larry Feldman

JCOC 79 – NSF 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comments From Alumni

“As a member of JCOC 79, I can attest to the many benefits of this program in conveying the value of the US Military and the US Defense Department. While I have always had great respect for US Military and the job it does in protecting our country, you can be assured that I will use the additional information that I learned and experienced during JCOC 79 in supporting the Defense Department, Special Operations Command and the roles they play defending our nation and its interests.”
--Arthur Savage

“It was truly a life altering experience that I look forward to sharing with
everyone/anyone who will listen.”
--Elon Boms

“There are simply no words to express my feelings about the most memorable,
moving, and exciting week of my life.”
--Ted Bell

--Steve Weber

“While it was great fun to ride in the planes and boats and to play with the
"toys", the thing that I will most remember is the skill and dedication of
the military people with whom we interacted.

I have always had great respect for the men and women who so bravely serve
our country but this past week has increased my admiration of them a
thousand fold. Their training and commitment was indeed awe inspiring.”
--Rod Brayman

“I am, and continue to be, honored by my association with
the men and women and their children of the armed forces. Their sacrifice
is only the tidal pool of a sea of emotions that carry them on the waves of

Upon reflection, i am taken by the passion, the determination, the dedication, and the gentleness of our special forces warriors. The way they conduct themselves, express their humanity, and share stories of family stirs the human spirit. I imagine the intense nurturing, high level academic learnings, and the percolation of leadership that enters their world once they enter the event horizon. The remarkable relationships that bind these warriors are linked as closely as the mitochondria of our existence - strong enough to ensure that no one is left behind, no one leaves their wing man, the swift and silent defines the trade, and the skill sets that make up their tool belt is simply unimaginable to most of us walking this planet.”
--Larry Feldman

“Every time I work out, I, at my age or 76 am consciously trying to look like
a Marine. You have made my life so much fuller and better!!!!”
--Arnold Crane

“My thought is more of a question. How many of you found "re-entry" into civilian life a bit of a challenge? Sitting on the Acela up to NYC last Friday surrounded by the life that only nine days earlier was mine, I couldn't help but think of the remarkable men and women we met "inside the bubble" of JCOC 76 and how this was not where I belonged. But, the bubble wasn't the Wall St bubble or the Hollywood bubble or even that of the Hill. It was an amazing, humbling bubble of life with our troops. Still now almost five days later, I think how much I miss
those young men and women that we saw so fleetingly.

The story. Master Sergeant Darryl Brown shared with me a story on our leg home that really stuck with me. The 701 AS was tasked for an emergency medivac for a single US Army PFC burn victim. The young soldier in question was burned so badly that he had to be flown directly from Baghdad to Wilford Hall in San Antonio, TX. The entire C-17 was dedicated to this young man. A five man crew, just like we
had. An additional five medical professionals on board for the entire flight. Three mid-air refuelings for the non-stop flight that burned about 350,000 pounds of fuel. We all heard and saw first-hand about the commitment of our soldiers to each other and to our nation. This was the truest example of the senior commander, flag officers and civilian leaders showing their commitment to each and every soldier…”
--David Burke

Monday, November 24, 2008

JCOC Alumni visit Balboa

(l. to r.) American Forces Press Service writer Fred Baker and JCOC alumni Denis Bilodeau, Nicole Clay, Kerry Evers, Jason Reed, Sean Bailey, and Arwen Dayton don disposable coveralls before entering the surgical suites at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

JCOC Alumni visit Balboa

Jennifer Town, director for Naval Medical Center San Diego's Comprehensive Combat & Complex Casualty Care (C5) program explains some of the features of the center's courtyard to JCOC alumni (l. to r.) Jason Reed, Sean Bailey, Denis Bilodeau, Arwen Dayton, Kerry Evers, and Nicole Clay.

USNS Mercy Hosts JCOC Alumni Visit

JCOC alumni Jason Reed, Sean Bailey, Arwen Dayton, and Denis Bilodeau listen as Captain James P. Rice, commanding officer of Mercy, explains the function of one of the hospital ship's medical spaces.

JCOC Alumni on USNS Mercy

Commander Carolyn McGee, director of nursing and clinical support services aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) meets JCOC alumni during their visit to the hospital ship.

Alumni Spend Time With Medical Pros

Friday was a typically beautiful San Diego autumn day. And for the six JCOC alumni spending their day touring the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and being granted a behind-the-scenes look at Naval Medical Center San Diego it was a long series of "gee whiz" moments.

Rather than muster up at the "normal" JCOC time of 4:00 or 5:00 a.m., we started our day at the more civilized time of 9:30 out of consideration for those driving in for the day. Introductions, followed by a brief ride to San Diego Naval Station brought us pier side one of two hospital ships in the U.S. Navy, USNS Mercy. There we were met by Commander Carolyn McGee, director of nursing and clinical support services, Captain James Rice, commanding officer of the Mercy, and Tim McCurry, deputy director of Military Sealift Command San Diego.

Rather than simply provide us with the standard "Welcome Aboard" briefing, our hosts instead chose to tell us about heir latest deployment to the south Pacific for Pacific Partnership 2008 earlier this year. During the deployment they treated patients in the Republic of the Philippines, Micronesia, New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. At times, the Mercy's medical teams were seeing up to 1,500 patients a day, working alongside the medical professionals of the host nation.

After the brief and a tour of the ship, we shoved off for an afternoon at Naval Medical Center San Diego. First stop: lunch, where we learned that "Balboa," as it's known, has a staff of more than 6,000, evenly divided between military and civilians. And that the staff sees more than 4,000 patients and delivers 10 babies (on average) each day and dispenses 2.4 million prescriptions a year (that's the same as 25 of your local Walgreen's). Our guide for the afternoon, Michael Wiener, first took us to C5 (Comprehensive Combat & Complex Casualty Care) so we could see some of the work being done with returning veterans. We saw how they are using motion capture video to do gait studies, virtual reality simulators to help alleviate the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, and have established a website to help veterans identify resources available to them.

Later, Ms. Belle Esposito, manager of the newly constructed Fisher House, showed us the new facility designed to house families while they stay in San Diego to be at the bedside of their recovering servicemembers.

Our afternoon continued with a tour of Radiology where we saw a CT Scan machine that is able to render an image of a beating heart in a matter of minutes. And if that's not enough, the doctors can manipulate the image on the screen in order to look at it from any angle.

The last stop of the day was the operating rooms. There we saw an overwhelming amount of equipment and associated technology that is literally saving lives 24/7.

Earlier in the day I saw a quote that, when taken in the context of the entire day's experiences, may be the impression these medical professionals leave on our wounded warriors.

"People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."
Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Guest Blog Post - Ted Mundorff

Thanks and pride.

After JCOC 76, I am instilled with unparalleled thanks, pride and admiration for the men and women of our armed forces. Their level of competence, passion, determination and focus that I witnessed has been burned into my memory. Our military, not our elected politicians, truly represent America and what it stands for...really understand what it means to believe in liberty, justice and freedom for all. My week getting to know these incredibly smart, hard working, committed individuals has made me more proud of our country than I ever dreamt possible.

---Ted Mundorff JCOC '76