Sunday, September 21, 2008

Guest Blog Post - Brigadier General David Cotton

JCOC 76 - Day 1

Excited anticipation by the participants about the itinerary as they gathered and met each other for the first time…many were almost giddy at the prospects.

The participants have come from across the country, each with their individual talents and passion not only for what they do, but for adventure and exploration of the unknown. I find it interesting, and refreshing, this group of highly successful leaders who are used to being in the position of deciding and directing most of their day, would agree to participate in JCOC without knowing where they would be visiting on their trip.

After the “unveiling” of the itinerary the excitement remained with the unknown location replaced by the unknown adventure and opportunities at each location. To a person, each expressed in some way their acknowledgement the dedication in our force they shall experience in meeting our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

Our soldier and Marine tour guides were excellent examples of the professionals in the force while they took the group on a tour of the Pentagon. Their knowledge of the DoD’s and nation’s history was appreciated. The visit to the 9/11 memorial inside the Pentagon, at the location of the aircraft’s impact point, was moving, with an understandable soberness and reverence to the time we spent there. However, for many, the most meaningful point of the day was the visit to the newly opened memorial on the grounds adjacent to the building, where the 184 people who lost their lives in the attack are memorialized.

Lieutenant General Jay Paxton, the Joint Staff Director of Operations (J3), provided an overview of all combatant command and how each relates in accomplishing the nation’s objectives.

After leaving the Pentagon we moved on to Andrews Air Force Base where the wing commander welcomed JCOC and thanked them for taking the time and showing the interest in meeting some of the military’s finest. The commander has only been in command for two weeks, having just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.

At 9:30 pm we boarded our Charleston based C-17 Globemaster III for our flight to Souda Bay, Greece, on the island of Crete.

Brigadier General David Cotton

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