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Getting to Know the Marines and Looking for My Advil

By: Tammy Carnrike

Chamber COO Tammy Carnrike participated in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC), a program sponsored by the Secretary of Defense for civilian public opinion leaders interested in growing their knowledge of the military and national defense issues. JCOC is the oldest existing Department of Defense outreach program having been held more than 81 times since its inception in 1948. Tammy spent five days in the Western U.S. visiting each branch of the U.S. military and learning about the readiness of the armed forces and our nation’s defense policies.

Today, we started at 4:30 a.m. and were taken to the Marine Corps recruiting center in San Diego. We were warned ahead of time to come prepared with an open mind. From the time we arrived, we were treated the same as marine recruits when they first arrive for training. (Well, not completely, but enough to get your attention and sharpen your discipline.)

I screamed back commands to my commanding officer, filed in formation, marched a mile, endured drill sergeants, ate a mess hall and best of all, I free roped 20 feet, rappelled 65 feet and completed a bayonet course in full combat gear. The bayonet course was extremely challenging for me, especially when it came to jumping in and out of fox holes since I am a bit vertically challenged.

Now I’m digging in my backpack searching for my Advil before our next destination :).

Seriously, this was an amazing experience and I have a better understanding of why Marines are so tough on their recruits. One officer said it best: “We make Marines and win wars.” They work on their minds and bodies constantly to build strength, confidence and discipline. A drill sergeant helped us by describing how commands relate to scenarios in battle situations.

When I was preparing to rappel, I gained understanding as to why their training methods are designed to build confidence. As I climbed up the 65 foot tower and looked down, I felt my heart rate increase and my head get light. I got through it and even wanted to do it again!

Off now to the second half of our day getting to know the Marines.

More later.

By the way, no photos this time because they wouldn’t allow us. Professional photographers were capturing our experiences.