Visitors from Cobb County Chamber of Commerce were able to see firsthand how the Army at Fort Benning operates Friday.
“The purpose is to raise awareness as to what the military is doing — kind of a behind-the-fence glance as to what’s going on and how the community can best serve them,” said Katie Edfeldt, the military program coordinator for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. “(It) exposes the civilians to what goes on in a world they hardly know anything about.”
The group, part of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Honorary Commanders program, has visited several military installations in the region including Parris Island, S.C., for Marine boot camp, Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla., to visit the naval air station, she said.
The group is comprised of 44 civilian business leaders in Cobb County who were nominated and accepted to be part of the Honorary Commanders program, Edfeldt said. Civilians partner with military commanders from different branches of the military and every month the group visits a local installation and take three trips a year to installations within the region.
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The program begins officially in January, where the selected individuals are instated as honorary commanders and relinquish their positions in November.
“We’ve been exposed to a lot of (the military) at this point but this is our first experience with the Army and it’s neat to see the resources here in Georgia and see the future of the United States Army,” Travis Ellis, vice president of Mobilized Fuel, Inc.
Ellis said it was important for people to understand the importance of supporting the military.
“We need to be the first line of support while they are the first line of defense,” he said.
The group was able to participate in the 34-foot Parachute Tower jumps and get into Abrams M1 tank simulators. They also watched the Rangers in Action demonstration, which was “very informative and exciting.”
Overall, Edfeldt said the trip was an “eye-opening” experience for the group.