Ears ringing, the weight of the flak jacket bearing down on their shoulders and sweat beading on their brows, each shooter reloads their Beretta 9mm pistol for another round of shooting targets. But, these are not Marines, and this is no ordinary day. Today, the spouses of Marines and Sailors are getting the opportunity to “stand in the boots of” and perform tasks service members often find themselves conducting.
Spouses of Marines assigned to various units within Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, experienced a day in the rigorous life of their Marines during Jane Wayne Days held at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, May 19-20, 2017.
“They had to follow a lot of orders, move quickly through the exercises and experience some of the stresses their Marines go through,” said Ashleigh Nix, the family readiness officer assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 223, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “The spouses loved it.”
Jane Wayne Days like these are held all across the Marine Corps to build unit cohesion, and provide family members the opportunity to experience what their Marine do day-to-day. These events include a wide range of training exercises such as the combat fitness test, weapons qualification range, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and more.
“We were able to get some of our Marines who have been drill instructors in the past to come out and drill the spouses,” said Nix. “They essentially showed the spouses what it’s like to be at boot camp.”
Alisha Hager, wife of 1st Lt. Jared Hager, an aviation command and control officer with 2d Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, MAG-14, 2nd MAW, stated she could not wait to go on the range with her husband to shoot.
“It was fun to hang out with him and see what he does for a living,” said Alisha. “It gives us a chance to connect with other wives as well.”
During Jane Wayne Day, Marines of all ranks and their spouses are invited to participate. With every event, new obstacles and challenges are presented, allowing family members to gain a full experience of what it is like to walk in the combat boots of their service members.
“The importance of Jane Wayne Day is to learn how to cut our guys some slack sometimes,” said Alisha. “We know when they come home, all they want to do is relax and I guess now the wives get it. Today, we got tired and sweaty and grumpy, just like they do. It was eye-opening.”
Story by Cpl. Mackenzie Gibson