Support our mission
 
With help from Marine instructors, Dave Paladino, president of Landmark Group in Omaha, Neb., rappels down a 65-foot tower Saturday during the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen.
With help from Marine instructors, Dave Paladino, president of Landmark Group in Omaha, Neb., rappels down a 65-foot tower Saturday during the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
With help from Marine instructors, Dave Paladino, president of Landmark Group in Omaha, Neb., rappels down a 65-foot tower Saturday during the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen.
With help from Marine instructors, Dave Paladino, president of Landmark Group in Omaha, Neb., rappels down a 65-foot tower Saturday during the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
Staff Sgt. Mark Castille, with the Special Operations Group, helps Carl Cramer, president and owner of Ferell's Health Centers in Bremerton Wash., correct his aim with the M16A2 during a live-fire exercise Saturday for the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen.
Staff Sgt. Mark Castille, with the Special Operations Group, helps Carl Cramer, president and owner of Ferell's Health Centers in Bremerton Wash., correct his aim with the M16A2 during a live-fire exercise Saturday for the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
Army Pfc. Cameron Kirby, 21, with 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, helps Dave Paladino, president of Landmark Group in Omaha, Neb., put on nuclear, biological and chemical protective gear.
Army Pfc. Cameron Kirby, 21, with 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, helps Dave Paladino, president of Landmark Group in Omaha, Neb., put on nuclear, biological and chemical protective gear. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
Ann Brown, president of New Vista Image in Golden, Colo., slips and bangs against the wall as she rappels a 65-foot tower Saturday during the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen. Marines with the Special Operations Training Group walked her through the rappeling experience. "I think I rushed a little and that's why I fell. After that, it was exhilarating," Brown said.
Ann Brown, president of New Vista Image in Golden, Colo., slips and bangs against the wall as she rappels a 65-foot tower Saturday during the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference's visit to Camp Hansen. Marines with the Special Operations Training Group walked her through the rappeling experience. "I think I rushed a little and that's why I fell. After that, it was exhilarating," Brown said. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
Sgt. Levi Konz, 26, from Schuylar, Neb., with Special Operations Training Group, walks Bob Perkowitz, the chief executive officer of Eco America in Washington, through rappeling a 65-foot tower.
Sgt. Levi Konz, 26, from Schuylar, Neb., with Special Operations Training Group, walks Bob Perkowitz, the chief executive officer of Eco America in Washington, through rappeling a 65-foot tower. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa — More than 40 business, education and civic leaders from throughout the United States visited bases on Okinawa last week to get a better understanding of the military’s mission in the Pacific.

The weeklong Joint Civilian Orientation Conference aims to educate civilian leaders about how the military operates and to showcase servicemembers in each branch, conference spokesman Dave Evans said Saturday at Camp Hansen.

The benefit to the military is that they will take that knowledge back home and pass it along to their college students, local newspapers in letters and opinion pieces, and legislators.

The visit was the second time the conference participants have toured units in the Pacific since the program began in 1948, Evans said.

The tour made stops at bases in Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines, and on Friday visitors were at Kadena Air Base to meet soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

Troops demonstrated nuclear, biological and chemical protective gear and weapons and displayed PAC 3 Patriot anti-missile missles, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dudley said.

Saturday, the group headed to Camp Hansen for weapons simulator training, live fire with the M-16A2 rifle and the 9mm pistol and a rappel down a 65-foot tower.

Deborah Colburn, managing director for Oral Health Awareness in Dauphin Island, Ala., said she was impressed by “the ability of these young people to teach us” and that “they also seem to really enjoy and believe in their work.

“I’ve also been impressed with the amount of community work the military does,” she said adding that such efforts don’t seem to make it into newspapers back home very often.

Pfc. Brandon Irvin, 21, from Montgomery, Ala., appreciated the group’s interest in what soldiers do as he helped civilians use weapon simulators and shared his recent experiences in Iraq.

“Not many Americans civilians come out here and it’s a great feeling to see how much they enjoy” using the equipment and talking with the Marines, he said.

The group was scheduled to visit Iwo Jima on Saturday afternoon and return to Hawaii to conclude the conference.

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up