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Civic outreach
Brig. Gen. William J. Bender explains expeditionary combat support training to participants in the Defense Department's Joint Civilian Orientation Conference May 4, 2011, at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Approximately 50 civilians, representing various professional and political fields, are participating in the weeklong DOD-sponsored program to learn about the U.S. military and its capabilities. General Bender is the Expeditionary Center commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Bevier)
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USAF EC hosts Pentagon-sponsored civic outreach program

Posted 5/5/2011   Updated 5/5/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wilson
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center


5/5/2011 - JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- A group of influential U.S. citizens hand-picked to participate in a high-profile civic outreach program visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ and the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center May 4th as part of the Department of Defense's Joint Civilian Orientation Conference program.

Approximately 50 citizens, ranging from town mayors to professional sports executives, were invited by senior Defense leaders to visit several East Coast military installations where each military service branch highlighted their missions and capabilities throughout the week. The Expeditionary Center was chosen to represent the Air Force.

"Of all the places you could have gone in the United States Air Force, you chose to come here," Brig. Gen. Bill Bender, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, noted during his opening remarks to the group. "We are excited to show you all of things we do here as well as demonstrate some of the wide variances of missions the U.S. Air Force undertakes."

The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, or JCOC, is a program the DoD has hosted over 80 times since its inception in 1948. The focus of the Secretary of Defense-sponsored event is to bring influential citizens from across the country with limited knowledge of the military and show them the unique capabilities of each service, according to Defense officials involved in the program. In addition to meeting with Secretary Robert Gates at the beginning of the program, the group visited the U.S. Army at Ft. Bragg, N.C., the U.S. Marine Corps at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., the U.S. Navy at New London Submarine Base, Conn., and the U.S. Coast Guard at Sector Boston, Mass.

Ms. Michelle Esswein, president of Winning Women, a professional organization of prominent business women and leaders in their communities in Missouri, noted that the experience was "phenomenal."

"I have a newfound respect and admiration for what the military does," she said. "I am truly humbled by the service of all the military. My father is a retired Air Force member as well as my brother-in-law and because of this experience I have even more of an appreciation for what they did and what other military members do every day."

The visitors were exposed to the Expeditionary Center's spectrum of courses, taught in the classroom and in the field, covering skills required of Airmen "from the flightline to the frontline." Members of the Mobility Operations School demonstrated their maintenance supervision simulator and command and control courses before handing off the group to the Expeditionary Operations School who in turn showed them a tactical vehicle rollover simulator, convoy operations, and security forces-specific courses, such as Phoenix Raven and the Military Working Dog class.

"We wanted to ensure they saw the full capabilities the Center has to offer," Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Cui, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center command chief master sergeant said. "The 'boots on the ground' courses, like Combat Airmen Skills Training, are some of our big ticket items, but they are hardly the only areas we are responsible for. Our Mobility Operations School programs are also just as critical in the Expeditionary Combat Support arena and we wanted to make sure we conveyed that during this visit."

As not only the representative for the expeditionary combat support sector, but also the entire U.S. Air Force, EC leaders challenged Airmen and civilians assigned here to go above and beyond to demonstrate their professionalism and subject-matter expertise.

"The people we have working here are truly among the best in the Air Force," Chief Cui said. "Once again, they demonstrated their tremendous competency and priceless skill sets as they always do, day-in and day-out - I couldn't be prouder."

General Bender noted the importance of joining with community partners across the nation to build relationships and increase understanding of the military's missions throughout the public arena.

"We live in a nation where 98 percent of our fellow citizens have never served in the military," he said. "As part of an all-volunteer force, it is critical we establish and maintain relationships with members of our society who are in a position to inform the people they interact with daily about the importance of what service members are doing for America every day."



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