Saturday, April 19, 2008

We Are Under Way!

By way of introduction, I'm Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt - the Navy Team Leader for JCOC 75. I'll be gathering some of the thoughts and comments from our JCOC participants as we make our way through the conference program. It's my first time serving as a JCOC escort, so I'll be going through the week with eyes as big as everyone else!

After a day of introductions and Pentagon tours, we were jostled awake in the wee hours of the morning to make way for our first in the Southern Command area of focus. After a blurry-eyed trip to the airport, our eyes widened considerably as we approached the C-17 aircraft that would take us south. The sheer size of the aircraft, as well as having a few opportunities to travel in a cockpit jumpseat really made the morning. And a few short hours later, we were landing in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba!

It's been a long day down here, with only a few hours of sleep followed by an incredibly busy schedule. We've experienced weapons training, fast-boat trips en route to the other side of the bay, tours of Camp Delta where detainees are being held, and a look at Camp Justice in advance of Military Commissions.

The JCOCers are commenting on a few particular "big bucket" items today --
- You're just never going to be prepared for the sheer intensity of this agenda. It's go, go, go right from the onset...
- Guantanamo Bay is huge (very spread out), compared to what you might think from what you see on TV...
- Today, seeing joint operations in action, really gives you a very clear picture as to how well all the services work together (even though there's a bit of team rivalry between breakout groups chanting "Go Navy, Beat Army!" and other such phrases)...
- You are immediately hit with the sense of service and dedication of all our young men and women serving in uniform.
- And the mix of active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel is impressive!
- And I am also personally impressed with the JCOC participants, their thoughtful questions and genuine interest in our military system.

The JCOC participants have fully embraced their "JCOC Cheer" to keep them going. Whenever their batteries need a quick charge, someone starts and they all join in -- "I'm not tired, I'm not sleeply, and I feel good!" And that really is the case.

Keep an eye out for another update soon! I'll look for others to provide some blog input here so you may get a variety of thought and maybe a more broad picture of the JCOC program as it happens.

Let's keep rolling!

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