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Family Day at USCENTCOM

  • Published
  • By Sgt. Fredrick J. Coleman
  • U.S. Central Command public affairs
When I first heard about the U.S. Central Command leaders opening the doors to the headquarters April 18 to host families of USCENTCOM during the first ever Family Open House, I couldn't wait to show my family what makes this headquarters a unique place to work.

After months of planning, hard work and preparation with directorate representatives, the day was finally here.

The event drew more than 1,300 family members, four of whom were my wife Jewell and three children Trent, Jared, and Dylan. Families received the opportunity to learn more about the contributions their USCENTCOM family members and friends make, along with the mission and the complexity of the area of responsibility.

Additionally, the event allowed senior leaders a chance to thank families for supporting their sponsors by giving them a view of how the command operates.

The event kicked off with members escorting their families to their specific workspaces, followed by a brief from their directorate senior leaders. For me, it was a chance for my family to better understand the organization I work in every day.

After my directorate's brief, I took my family to the various interactive displays set up around the campus. We stopped by the non-lethal weapons, small arms, night vision goggles, and military police car displays, as well as a display set up to depict a press briefing room. Other participants took part in self-paced tours of the headquarters building, pointing out some of the highlights to include a wall honoring Medal of Honor recipients from battles that took place in the command's AOR, and the Joint Operations Center, where joint USCENTCOM members provide timely, accurate and actionable information to the commander and USCENTCOM components.

One of the popular displays was a baton training demonstration that gave kids the opportunity to test their training baton wielding skills on an instructor wearing protective equipment. Of course, my two sons jumped at the opportunity to hit something with a stick since they both play ice hockey.

After a brief visit to the press briefing room, we returned to my office's conference room where my wife received the chance to observe a briefing given by Vice Adm. Mark Fox, USCENTCOM deputy commander, about USCENTCOM's AOR.

"Although USCENTCOM is the smallest of the geographic combatant commands, this is where most of the action is happening," said Vice Adm. Fox during his brief.

My wife agreed and told me with a smile, "Your generals are never bored here, huh?"

At the conclusion of the event, I was able to speak to several wives and children about the event and received only positive feedback.

"I appreciate the opportunity to come to where my husband works and learn more about CENTCOM," said Blanca Perez, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Roque Perez, who works with USCENTCOM's Special Security Office. "It was nice of the generals to invite us [families] to the headquarters and explain to us how this place works. I feel much more comfortable that families aren't forgotten here."