More than 50 members of the North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors toured training facilities aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Feb. 24.
Attendees met at the Paradise Point Officer’s Club, where they dined with Col. James Clark, the deputy commander of Marine Corps Installations East - Camp Lejeune and Col. Brent W. Bien, director for Government and External Relations / assistant chief of staff of G-7.
Farming and defense are two of North Carolina’s top industries, said Chester Lowder, who works with public policy with the Farm Bureau. Lowder said visiting the base provided an opportunity for members who may not be familiar with the military, the ability to experience firsthand the military’s impact in North Carolina.
“We understand the important economic impact military installations, particularly Camp Lejeune, have on the economy of North Carolina, so we wanted to visit,” said Larry Wooten, the president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau. “Some of our members have lived in North Carolina their entire lives but have never been on a military installation.”
The Farm Bureau is North Carolina’s largest general farm organization. It is a private nonprofit organization that advocates for rural and agriculture issues.
During their visit, they viewed demonstrations of the HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer, convoy trainer and a driving simulator at the simulator integration center.
“After all the briefs and demonstrations were concluded, the group had a better understanding and appreciation of the facility,” said Fernando Schiefelbein, operations specialist for Marine Corps Installation East. “Not only of the training conducted, but on the expertise the training support staff has to have in order to safely train the amount of Marines that cycle through these simulators.”
They also visited the Military Operations on Urban Terrain Facility, where they learned about the training conducted there.
“We’re very appreciative to be here,” said Wooten. “We look forward to learning about some of the training that goes on. We want to see what goes into making Marines combat ready.”
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