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HCA Class Notes

Marine Day – 18 January 2017
The 2017 Honorary Commanders class kicked off their first day together with Marine Day on Wednesday, January 18, hosted by the Marines of CLR 45 and Bravo Company 4th Recon Battalion.

Colonel Matthew Puglisi, the Commander of CLR 45, started the day with a brief on the Marine Corps and shared some inspiring stories. Captain Blake Hudgins with Personnel Retrieval and Processing (PRP) gave a brief on the importance protecting and honoring their fallen comrades, and CW03 Christine Reliford provided a brief on how they keep the Corps well fed in the field. The class explored static displays from Bravo Company’s 4th Recon including a fully equipped Humvee, boats and a variety of weapons, before enjoying MRE’s for lunch to have the experience of eating like a Marine out on a mission. Following lunch, the class rotated through the different areas of the base and saw a martial arts and Obstacle (O course) demonstration, more detailed looks into PRP and food service, and saw first-hand what marines endure in their field events to pass a combat fitness test. This class was also the first class ever to see the gas chamber on sight, and have an opportunity to climb the Marine’s jump tower. It was an exciting and great start for the class as they now realize all the amazing things they will be encountering along their journey this year.

Shepard’s Day – 16 February 2017
The 2017 class had an impactful and informative day at The Shepard Center in Atlanta, which helps to heal many of our injured service men and women. The day started with an in-depth tour led by Jon Roxland, Director of Major & Planned Gifts at Shepherd Center, and his team. The class explored occupational and recreational therapy gyms, and fascinating adaptive technology and speech labs which allow injured patients to learn how to control devices with only their voice. The class then received an introduction to the SHARE Military Initiative from Jackie. And we also learned that the SHARE program is expanding their facilities to allow the program to accommodate additional clients. The class then heard directly from a SHARE client, who told her incredible and impactful story about how this program helped bring her back to where she wanted to be with her family, and herself. After the Shepard Day, the class enjoyed lunch together where they discussed and decided as a class to continue to support SHARE with this year’s class project.

Army Trip – 2-3 March 2017
A big thank you to Col. Mark Gardner (Retired) and Lt. Col. Greg Schrein of the Atlanta Army Recruiting Battalion for all of their hard work in planning the Class of 2017’s Army Trip to Fort Benning, GA. It was an incredible day as the class first got to witness Rangers in action at this year’s Army Ranger graduation ceremony. Demonstrations of skill and bravery astounded friends and family of graduates as everyone got to see firsthand what one must accomplish to become a Ranger. After graduation, we visited the Humvee Evacuation Trainer (HEAT), where class members strapped in for simulations of rollovers and attacks, all while learning how to escape in various situations. The tank training area gave the class a firsthand feel of what it’s like to climb in and drive M1A2 and M1A1 tanks, while a demonstration of a laser lock and turret firing allowed us all to see what tanks are like in action. The class enjoyed lunch on base eating alongside the Army’s finest before experiencing 240 years of American History through immersive exhibits as they finished the day at the National Infantry Museum.