Saturday, April 26, 2008

We're Back! So Now What?

I'm on the C-17 headed from Miami to Andrews Air Force Base.

So we've had our last event. It was our farewell dinner hosted by SOUTHCOM commander Admiral James Stavridis. A great event, with each of the JCOC teams giving summaries, thoughts, etc. Our conference senior representatives, Mr. Kevin Wensing (from Deputy Defense Secretary England's staff) and Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul M. Van Sickle (from SOUTHCOM staff) , also spoke. This was also a chance for many of us to see some of the photos captured from the week, expertly taken by our two conference Air Force photographers, Tech Sgt. Jerry Morrison and Master Sgt. Kevin Gruenwald.

So now what?

That was a constant question coming from so many of the JCOC participants themselves. And they WANT to do something with these experiences, for sure.

Without exception, the JCOCers spoke about how important the trip was and how they need to take this new knowledge and move forward. With so many ways one could think of taking further action, the imortant thing is to not be overwhelmed into paralysis and do nothing.

Many JCOCers plan to call the parents or spouses of service members they met along the way. Some talk of planning local military support activities, and others of doing humanitarian assistance themselves as JCOC alumni to further support what the military is doing. There were recurring comments that this was just the beginning. If that's the case, I ask each JCOC 75 member...

So now what?

My hope is that each participant in JCOC 75 gained a more clear picture of the myriad activities of their armed forces around the globe, maybe clearing up previously held misconceptions along the way. I'd love to see several (or ALL) of these great JCOC alums out in their communities speaking about what they have seen, experienced and learned.

This has been a stellar opportunity to continue to build on JCOC alumni and what they can do to further educate their own communities about the military -- based on their new-found direct experiences through JCOC.

Many participants departed from Miami, and the rest of us will soon be landing in the D.C. area to go our separate ways.

I can say I had a great time leading the Blue Team, getting to know them, as well as so many others from all our JCOC teams. Red Team, Green Team, Blue Team or White Team -- all the teams were full of superb leaders from around the nation. This was an energized group and we all learned a lot from our hosts throughout the SOUTHCOM area of focus. Thanx everyone!

I will continue to post any additional guest blog inputs from JCOCers as they send them to me.

And maybe we'll get a few lines of blog discussion along the way too!

Until then, as we say in the Navy. . .

Fair Winds and Following Seas,

Brook DeWalt
Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
Blue Team Leader and Conference Blogger, JCOC 75

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