On this trip, we were taken from Denver to San Diego via a COARNG CH-47, and a US Navy C-9. The purpose of the trip was to demonstrate to various employers what it is the Guard and Reserve folks do on typical training events. We got a chance to see how Guard and Reserve units support their active duty brethren, and ready themselves for deployments all over the globe. To say we were impressed is an understatement of galactic proportion.
From the Marine Indoc center in San Diego, to the SEABEES, to the Coast Guard station on North Island, we were briefed on numerous support elements and missions of the Guard and Reserve. Although I've been in the military for 26 years, I'd never, ever seen this side of the DoD and DHS. To be able to see the ''yellow footprints'' of the Marine training center, and understand and witness what EVERY new Marine has to go thru was fantastic. We got to eat lunch with Marines in training from Colorado, and to a person they were excited about their future. Oh, and tired, too. Options? Yeah, they knew what they signed up for. College degrees, technical training and degrees: each had opportunity beyond the Dogs but chose service to their country as well. My hat's off to each and every one. I'm glad I never had to stand on those yellow footprints.
With the CG station, we got to tour and understand the elements that guard our coastline each and every hour of every day. To say these guys enjoy their jobs is ANOTHER understatement- they each wake up every day committed to doing their best, and it certainly shows. What was especially interesting was understanding how the Auxiliary contributes to our efforts, and how the CG Reserve is tasked to back-fill those that are deployed forward. I gotta say, when its time for my son to look at service, I'm going to strongly recommend the CG for the breadth of work available. Plus, it'd be nice to have a Sailor in the family again :)
If any of you are fans of Dirty Jobs, we got a look at that part of SEABEE work- they were pulling mobile dock units out of the water for cleanup. I don't wish that ugly, smelly work on anyone- dirty, smelly, and wet, but necessary! Mike Rowe, where are you when we need you?
Captain Mike Argo, commander of Navy Special Warfare Operational Support Group, Coronado, Calif., gave a rousing talk to the participants and thanked them for their support of the Reserves. Captain Argo oversees all NSW team members. You would NOT want to run into this guy on a dark beach under the 'wrong' circumstances. It would be bad for your health.
Lastly, we had a chance to tour the NSWTC on Coronado to see the new SEALs in training at BUD/s. I've read, heard, talked about this training, but to see it up-close and personal, well, I just cannot do it justice in words here. To walk their beach, see the dedication in their eyes, was un-freaking-believable. Truly, only the most dedicated make it thru. I believe the class that was going thru was 264; gents, good luck to you all. You'll CERTAINLY need it. I hope to have some video over to Jimbo soon of the trip- the SEAL armorer presentation on the 'toys of choice' for the teams was awesome. These guys are really all-business.
My thanks to the ESGR guys for a great trip!