Sunday, September 28, 2008

Guest Blog Post - W. Allen Morris

JCOC Report #3 (Joint Civilian Orientation Conference)

Greetings from Naval Air Station, Rota, Spain, near Gibraltar!

On Sunday, we flew out in a formation of 6 UH-46 Helicopters & landed on the USS Iwo Jima Marine Assault Aircraft Carrier in the Aegean Sea north of Crete.

The Iwo Jima has a population of 3,000 Sailors & Marines running a huge ship, an airport, a truck depot, a boat yard, maintenance and repair facilities and a fully staffed hospital with doctors & nurses and 4 operating rooms.

The ship has transport & attack helicopters, Harrier Jump Jets, 3 huge Hovercraft assault ships for beach landings, armored humvees, trucks, and all manner of weapons, missiles, and defense systems all to support the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

I met and had lunch with lots of the sailors, marines & pilots.

I learned how to load, aim and fire the Humvee-mounted Tow Anti-tank missile, the shoulder-mounted MK135 missile w Thermal sights, the new 240 machine gun 7,62mm. And a very long briefing on the mechanics & capabilities of the Harrier Jet. (0;

The put on quite a show of precision airmanship and seamanship and marine deployment from the Helos! Impressive!

This whole floating city, airport, industrial plant is run by some
very impressive sailors & marines with huge responsibilities.

Average age on board the Iwo Jima?

22 years old!!! Some as young as 17.

And all of them are capable professionals, anxious to get in to help our troops & the citizens in Afghanistan!

To say I am impressed is an understatement. I am so proud & grateful for what these young men & women are doing to serve our country & the citizens we are liberating from Taliban oppression!

One nugget:
Since we liberated Afghanistan, 68% of the girls/women now have an Education available to them for the first time!.

Next stop the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas!

More later,


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