Sunday, April 20, 2008

Change happens!

It's 11:30 p.m. or so and I'm typing this following a most unexpected of days... but more on that later.

Getting you a bit updated since the last post, we were at Guantanamo Bay learning a great deal about Joint Task Force Guantanamo and related issues. After a most impresive day of activities, the group was hot and much in need of a shower. It may not sound like a big deal, but it was. Having been so busy all day, we were all a bit in need of this pit stop. So off we went to use the facilities at Camp Justice! It gave us all a small sense of the living facilities used by these service members. And we were soon revved up and ready to go again. Following a farewell reception hosted by the task force commander, we were boated back to the other side of the bay and boarded our military flight. Destination: Brazil.

We had an overnight flight that was relatively quiet. We were all so energized from the visit, but also so wiped out and ready for some nap time! Next thing we knew, we were landing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And we were soon en route to other aircraft to take us out to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to see Navy operations up close.

Half of the group had a scheduled visit and witnessed flight operations (while standing on the flight deck practically next to the aircraft!), toured command and control areas with senior leadership, and meet Sailors doing their work throughout the ship. The JCOC members were again impressed with how such young adults had so much responsibility. The group returned from the ship more energized, although a bit worn from the intensity of the ongoing operations they were a part of today.

But then there was the other half of the JCOC group... And here's where thing took a bit of a unique turn...

Military operations happen, and change happens, and we got both. I was part of the second group, so I can give a firsthand account. The second half of the JCOC group was delayed with an aircraft maintenance issue. Anyway, it's better to be safe, so we certainly didn't mind the wait! So while the others toured the ship, we went to lunch at a nearby Brazilian steakhouse, and it was fantasic. We ate probably more than we should have, but we convinced ourselved that we'd need the energy! After some delay at the airport, we got the news that the first half of JCOCers would soon be returning from the ship, and that we'd be headed out soon after they returned. Super!

But wait! The day is getting late! How could we visit the ship with such little time? Well, the great folks aboard "GW" rearranged plans and provided us the opportunity to stay the night on the carrier! It has been an absolutely incredible day and evening. Seeing a Sailor about 19 or 20 years old driving an aircraft carrier, and other young Sailors briliantly maneuvering multi-million dollar aircraft on the flight deck in the pitch dark of night -- these are images that will be with all of us for years to come. These are the images of JCOC.

I've done a tour on board an aircraft carrier, and I'm well familiar with the operations. But as a JCOC escort, tonight I got to see how this visit was impacting our JCOC participants. It makes me so very proud of all our enlisted Sailors here and around the globe.

So half of us are at sea tonight, while the other half is engaged with JCOC activities ashore. This was a great example of the flexibility in military operations, and we got to live it for a short window of time. Change happens, and we can adapt!

I encourage everyone to take a look at the photos that will be posted on the JCOC site. I'm hoping to gather up some inputs from our JCOCers to add to these posts, just as soon as we can do so. And I also hope to include other team leader inputs!

There's so much more to say about these days, and I hope we can get some more posts soon. Until then, JCOC charges on!

Take care,


CynInAK said...

Please tell Terry that we are all watching from Fairbanks, Alaska! The trip already sounds fabulous.

Anonymous said...

We're having a blast and we have such an awesome staff taking care of all the details!!!! I only wish we could bring all of our friends and families hopefully the blog and the photos will be the next best thing!!

So far the highlight has been our brave men and women who serve so selfishly and with such enthusiasm...each has a story...and each is passionate about the safety and security of our nation!!! Meredith Iler, JCOC participant

Tami Garcia said...

Please tell Lorenzo that Garrett, Zoe and Tami miss him very much!

doug reiter said...

As a defence contractor employee, I've seen and experienced SOCOM activities first hand in working with the Navy, Coasties, and Customs folks. It was some of the most satisfying work I had done, supporting the warfighters in the field. I'm glad that my sister Robin has been given the opportunity to see it for herself, and to understand some of what I've been spending the past 15years doing for work !