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Gen Next Members Gain Better Understanding of America's Military
by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy - November 22, 2015

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Several members of Gen Next, an invite only membership organization consisting of high level executives, CEO's, entrepreneurs, and accomplished professionals aimed at overcoming generational challenges in economic growth, education and international security, received a guided tour to gain a better understanding of what it means to have “boots on the ground” on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Oct. 22, 2015.

Spc. Charles Robinson, an infantryman assigned to 7th Infantry Division, speaks to members from Gen Next, a group of professionals aimed at overcoming generational challenges, on the capabilities of some small arms weapons during an up-close tour of Joint Base Lewis McChord, Oct. 22, 2015. The tour was an effort to raise understanding of what it means to 'have boots on the ground' to see how the military supports the U.S. in the area of global security.
U.S. Army Spc. Charles Robinson, an infantryman assigned to 7th Infantry Division, speaks to members from Gen Next, a group of professionals aimed at overcoming generational challenges, on the capabilities of some small arms weapons during an up-close tour of Joint Base Lewis McChord, Oct. 22, 2015. The tour was an effort to raise understanding of what it means to 'have boots on the ground' to see how the military supports the U.S. in the area of global security. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy)

“We are inspired to help the future generation,” said Danny Karlinsky, Gen Next Regional Director, “Global security is really important to us and our members.”

According to Gen Next's website ... without a stable, safe environment to grow up in, future generations have far less of a chance to achieve their dreams. Overcoming 21st century challenges demand that our nation's defense apparatus is the most funded, versatile, well trained, respected, and effective in the world.

The members of Gen Next visited a static display of military vehicles, weaponry and medical assets provided by 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 7th Infantry Division, and 673rd Dental Company - Area Support, where they received briefs from Soldiers about some of each unit's capabilities, their personal roles and responsibilities, and some personal stories about their time in the Army.

After each brief, the group was given a chance to get a feel for the weapons, see what it's like to sit in a Stryker military vehicle and ask questions. They had a lot of questions for the Soldiers.

Spc. Charles Robinson, an infantryman assigned to 7th ID, shared some of what he experienced in Afghanistan during his last deployment and answered questions about the weather there.

“It was hot,” said Robinson. “Imagine going to Texas, but the desert part of Texas. It was like 100 degrees every day.”

Robinson also informed them that not all areas of the country were desert, and some of his fellow Soldiers experienced a totally different side of the weather spectrum.

“There were places some of our other guys were at where the snow was up to their knees,” he said. “I didn't even know there was snow in Afghanistan [before we deployed].”

Robinson said he chose his career field because of future desires and he liked to stay active.

“I always wanted to be a member of S.W.A.T.,” said Robinson. “I felt that this could help me get a foot in the door.”

After the display, the group was taken to one of the Mission Training Complex's training sites to try out some of the high-tech training platforms units that JBLM can utilize to train Soldiers, build teamwork and save money by honing their skills in virtual training simulations.

The MTC's mission is to support commanders' collective and individual training in preparation for their wartime mission. They serve as a digital training range, and can link virtual, and constructive (immersive) training environments and provide battlefield visualization.

The guests had the chance to drive a Stryker vehicle, fire at enemy combatives and work together as a team during a convoy mission, all in a non-hostile, virtually simulated environment.

Gen Next member, Brian Vowinkel a former Army Ranger said very few of the members had any military background and did not have a real understanding of the military's role in supporting global security efforts.

“We are here to improve civil – military relations and global security as it is something we all have concerns about,” said the San Diego native. “We are here to learn what the Soldiers are sacrificing to accomplish an American power.”

Vowinkel said his favorite parts of the tour included visiting familiar sites and seeing how things have improved since he was last in the Soldiers' shoes.

“I love seeing the different uniforms and the weapon systems I used to train with” said Vowinkel. “And I love seeing the comradery.”

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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