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Posted: April 17, 2012 6:39 p.m.

Military panel comes to Oxford College

It's been one year since First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden launched Joining Forces. Joining Forces is a campaign that shares the hardships encountered by our military and their families all the while gearing up support and understanding from the larger community.

Today, Oxford College will take part in doing just that.

Through Oxford's Circle K, a college service organization sponsored by Kiwanis International, the college will host a military panel consisting of five active duty Air Force men from Moody Air Force Base.

Moody Air Force Base's mission statement is "(The base) trains and employs combat-ready A-10, HC-130, HH-60, pararescuemen and force protection assets and personnel consisting of approximately 6,000 military and civilian personnel including geographically separated units in Nevada, Florida and Arizona. The wing executes worldwide close air support, force protection, and personnel recovery operations in support of humanitarian interests, United States national security, and overseas contingency operations."

The panel will discuss the military lifestyle and perspectives on war, as well as answering questions from the audience.

As of 2011, the military makes up less than one percent of our country. Meanwhile, there are about 20 million college students enrolled in our colleges and universities around the country.

For many of these students, the military is just something they see presented on TV, movies, or video games. The subject is an alien one and is unlikely to have crossed their minds.

Circle K hopes that the panel will expose the Oxford College community and the city of Covington to new insights about the military.

Matt Salib, 18, a student at Oxford College voiced his opinion about the upcoming panel, "The typical student population at a private university, such as Oxford, is not usually exposed to military life and service. I don't think students know much about the military, so the panel could show them a different light about it."

"I feel like a lot of people here don't really appreciate what soldiers go through and what war really is outside of what they hear in the news and what they learn about in schools," said Kyle Johnson, 18, about the event.

Johnson continued with his thoughts on the other side of the battlefront: the battle on the home front which is the
main focus of Joining Forces. "Most students just see the soldiers over there. They might think of their families, but not in light of what they're sacrificing. There's a whole other battle taking place on the home front in addition to what's going on the field. They only see what is portrayed in the media."

The audience will also be able to gain a better appreciation of leadership and relationships in the ranks of the military. The panel will consist of speakers who are colonels, master sergeants, and air men.

" It's not everyday that you get to speak with the people who sacrifice so much for us everyday. I think they have done more than enough to earn an hour of your time." Salib concluded.

The event is open to the public. The panel starts at 5 p.m. and will take place in the 4th floor conference room in Seney Hall at Oxford College.

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