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Admiral Willard Discusses the “Asia-Pacific U.S. Military Overview”

Admiral Robert Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command discusses the “Asia-Pacific U.S. Military Overview” at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C. on September 27, 2011.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/YxCzLEQMNDc]

Admiral Willard speaks to the media at the 2009 Cheif of Defense Conference

I remember when I was invited to meed Admiral Willard last year I was so nervous that I forgot to even ask him any questions!

At the Chief of Defense Conference held at a secret location on Oahu in 2009

With the upcoming 2011 APEC Conference… I’m sure the security is going to be even more tight then it was at this conference.

My Pearl Harbor Memories

Well today is considered “Pearl Harbor Day” and we all know what happened that fateful day.

This has been an interesting year for me as I got to join a few others on some exercises that the military did and most of them were at or around Pearl Harbor.

My way of commemorating today will be to put this little post together of the experiences I got to have!  So here are my Pearl Harbor memories from this past year.

It all began over a year ago when I had the opportunity to meet one of the most powerful men I have ever met, The Commander of the Pacific Command, Admiral Willard.

I was too nervous to do anything other then shake his hand and I certainly didn’t want to ask any questions that might have gotten me in trouble!

I guess this event went over well enough so they then invited me go Out to Sea on the Navy Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon.

This was pretty spectacular as I didn’t know a submarine would show up out of nowhere!

Since I got a bit sea-sick on the USS Chung-Hoon, I guess it was the Navy’s way of making sure I didn’t get sick on another trip by bringing me aboard the USS Mercy for a tour of the worlds largest trauma centers… and it floats!

Despite what you may think… we were pretty free to take pictures of most the things we saw on these events!

After the tour of the USS Mercy a couple months later, I got the opportunity to go up in a C-17 and fly from Oahu to the Big Island for a simulated mission.

During the flight they opened the back and did some simulated air drops.  Then the next thing you know they had some F-17’s that were simulating an attack on the plane!

It was cool because when they landed in Kona… they actually let me sit in the cockpit!

It felt weird flying to Kona and then landing… and then taking off again… but that’s just what we did and we returned to Oahu.

The following day I did something that just totally blew my mind… and that was getting the chance to Land on the Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan and getting Catapulted off out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!.

This was pretty cool as I actually got to sit in the Commander’s Chair!

When we first landed we missed the chain that was suppose to catch our plane so we gunned it off the end and made another pass around and then landed safely.  That wasn’t near as exciting as getting catapulted off though!

And while most of the things listed above happened on or near Pearl Harbor… the most recent thing I was able to attend courtesy of the Navy was the practice day at the Kaneohe Air Show where we got to get up close and personal w/ Blue Angels!

So while many people may have bad memories about Pearl Harbor… I certainly can say that all my memories of the place have been pretty spectacular!

12th Annual Chief of Defense Conference Was Held in Hawaii Last Week

12th Annual Chiefs of Defense Conference

I mentioned the other day that I would be attending the PACOM Press Conference but I really couldn’t say that much about it at the time.

PACOM

I was the only blogger that attended this Press Conference for the Chiefs of Defense Conference that finished in Hawaii last week.

Chief of Defense Conference

Everything was pretty tight lipped and I was very honored to be invited.

Adjusting the Lighting

The conference was attended by 22 countries Chiefs of Defense and the list of attendees was quite impressive:

PACOM List of Attendees

PACOM list of Attendees

I arrived at 2:00 in the afternoon for the 3:00 Press Conference and was debriefed of a few things and screened for a few others.  I guess they wanted to make sure I was who I said I was and that I wasn’t packing any weapons or bombs on me.

The room was set up with the podium facing us so that the Officials would have a nice backdrop behind them.  When I entered the room… I knew immediately that this set up would not work well for a press conference and voiced my concerns.

DSCN0006

I knew that the lighting wouldn’t work very well but after a few grumbles I just kind of kept my mouth shut.  About 20 minutes later, a TV crew from the Military came into the room… and of course they saw the same thing that I did with the room.

PACOM Room Layout

I asked them if they had back lights and they said no.  At that point, they then addressed the people in charge as well and said we needed to change the room around for better lighting.

Room Change

So with 15 minutes before the actual press conference began, we switched the layout of the room so that we could get better lighting.

Some quick Audio Visual sound checks and we were good to go.

Mic Check

A little after 3:00, military leaders began to come into the room…

PACOM

and Commander of the Pacific Command, Admiral Willard, and a few others  came into the room and shook hands with those that were in attendance.

PACOM

Admiral Willard talked about the weeks events and praised the other Countries that participated in this 12th Annual Conference.

Admiral Willard

This clip talks a bit about what they talked about during the conference:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfX_akYKQIo&hl=en&fs=1&]

In this clip they talk about their joint efforts to help with the American Samoa Tsunami Relief Effort.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4kj4ujM360&hl=en&fs=1&]

And in this clip he introduces us to Joint Commander France’s Rear Admiral Jean-Louis Vichot of Armed Forces in French Polynesia and Vice Chief of Defense Force Rear Admiral Jack Steer from New Zealand.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQVZoSeoHSQ&hl=en&fs=1&]

After about 15 minutes of briefing us of what occurred at the conference they then opened the questions up to the media present in the room.

PACOM

Here is some general information I’ve been allowed to comment on:

STATEMENT:

The conference purpose is to bring together senior military leaders from nations in the Asia-Pacific region to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation.

THEME:

The conference theme is Common Defense Challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region

What is the Chief of Defense Conference?

The Chiefs of Defense Conference, or CHODs, is an annual conference of the chiefs of defense of the nations in the Asia-Pacific region. These conferences bring together senior military leaders from regional nations to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation. This is the eighth such conference, and is hosted by Admiral Robert Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command.

What Countries Participated this year?

Nations attending this year’s conference include: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam, and the United States.

Why do you hold these conferences?

Nations in the region have mutual and related security issues. The CHODs is designed to bring together senior military leaders from regional nations to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation.

What will be discussed at the conference?

These conferences bring together senior military leaders from regional nations to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation. It has been our past practice not to discuss details of the conference, to include agenda, activities, etc. To encourage frank and open discussions, the conferences are not open to media

PACOM

It was a very moving experience for me, and I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to meet these world leaders and hear about what they were doing in Hawaii.

PACOM

There was lots of stuff I saw… but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of and obviously I’m not gonna talk about it on my blog either.

PACOM

After the press conference ended, a Military Official asked me why I didn’t ask any questions of the World Leaders.  I basically told them that I wasn’t going to stick my foot in my mouth with the world watching!

And still to this day… I wonder if they were trying to “jam my data signal” from reaching my phone from inside of that room… as i really wanted to Twitter things out to the world… but I literally had to step outside of the room just to catch a signal!

Data?

"Go figure the most important meeting in my life and I can't catch my data plan"

You can view a short blog I made about this shortly after the event from my cell phone here: So I met an Admiral