FORT CARSON, Colo. — American business and community leaders participated in this year’s iteration of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) with 4th Infantry Division Soldiers Oct. 25, 2022, at Fort Carson.
The JCOC is DOD’s oldest and most prestigious public liaison program. Established in 1948, it is the only Secretary of Defense-sponsored outreach program that enables American business and community leaders to have a full immersive experience with their military.
“We want participants to take this experience back to their communities to show what the 4th Infantry Division does, and there is no better way to explain it than to have experienced the Ivy Division. Participants on the trip saw firsthand what it means for Army units like the 4th Infantry Division to close the final yards,” said Melanie Fonder Kaye, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Strategic Engagement.
Upon arrival, JCOC members participated in a grueling physical fitness challenge, the Mabry Mile. Mabry Mile is a mile-long obstacle course named in honor of George L. Mabry Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient and former Soldier within the ranks of the Ivy division. The course builds cohesion amongst teams and tests physical fitness and mental agility.
“I run 10 miles daily and still found the Mabry Mile to be an exceptional challenge, said Brian Gott, Chief Innovation Officer, The Entertainment Industry Foundation. “I was fatigued and didn’t think I would be able to give a good effort during (the next event) combatives. My trail running doesn’t compare to what I have experienced here. This is next-level stuff. To see the Ivy Soldiers don the gear we put on today and complete the tasks was unbelievable.”
The Mabry Mile was followed with combatives training by the Army’s Lacerda Cup’s first- and second-place championship teams. Both elite teams don the 4ID patch.
“The combatives team taught hand-to-hand combat and showcased fighting skills that are needed for close combat,” said Col. Andrew Steadman, commander, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
JCOC participants arrived to the Ivy combatives gym where they were taught basic grappling techniques, such as the modified clinch drill and were embedded into scenario training to test their skills.
The day continued with multiple events to include an aerial tour, live-fire ranges, small arms training, MedEvac hoist operations, and explosives demolition. The last event was Medic and Tactical Combat Casualty Care at the Mission Simulation Training Center (MSTC).
Col. Kareem Paul Montague, Deputy Commanding General for Support, 4th Infantry Division, said the JCOC enables civilians to learn about the 4th Infantry Division’s identity.
“We want to give civilian influencers in the community, a sense of what the Ivy Division and the Army is all about,” Montague said. “Some of the civilians were completely overwhelmed with the expertise of our junior non-commissioned officers. That is Ivy Ready in a perfect demonstration.”
Louise Firestone, General Counsel, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, described the helicopter ride as liberating and feeling free. Firestone also said she was impressed by the flight crew’s attention to detail and methodical safety standards.
Ed Nelson, Whataburger CEO, said medical training in the Army is fast-paced and was worth the experience.
“The Army inspires and creates world-class leadership, Nelson said. “I saw 18-year-old leaders who are making a difference, and I wish I was that person when I was that age.”
The 93rd JCOC unequivocally established a rapport between the military and civilian leadership. JCOC participants got a brief glimpse of what it is like to serve in the U.S. Army and more specifically the 4th Infantry Division.
“We want civilians in academia, sports, industry and entertainment to have a sense of what the Army is all about, that’s our general sense of responsibility, which we have done today,” Montague said. “Today, they had a day in the life of a Soldier experience but at the same time, in doing that, the true spirit of the 4th Infantry Division and the Ivy Soldier presented itself in every way.
“It is an honor (to host JCOC),” Montague continued. “We all have to be in the business of taking advantage of an opportunity to expose people to the military who don’t normally get exposed to it, which is what the JCOC program is all about.