Twentynine Palms, Calif.- Combat Logistics Battalion 7 held a Jane Wayne Day for more than 20 spouses and girlfriends Oct. 10. The group of excited and anxious women arrived at 7:30 a.m. to be accounted for, check gear and hydrate. They were already starting off their day like their Marines would.
Sgt. Maj. Amerigo Walton, battalion sergeant major, CLB-7, welcomed everyone and expressed his appreciation of CLB-7 family members supporting their Marines. The group then loaded in 7-ton trucks, sporting full battle rattle and headed off to Range 113A for live-fire weapons training.
"Shooting the rifle was pretty awesome," said Shae Sand, CLB-7 wife. "The weapon was heavier than I thought and the recoil was surprising." Sand was one of many women impressed with their husbands' ability to handle the M16-A4 service rifle.
"Holding the weapon the right way, alone, was pretty hard," said Becky Krohn, CLB- 7 wife. "Being accurate with it, is a whole different story."
Confidence and camaraderie built as the Janes cycled through their firing relays, shared stories and once again loaded in the 7-ton vehicles to travel to their next location.
"Getting in the truck with all this gear on is not easy at all," Krohn said. "This stuff is heavy."
Once the women arrived at Range 215, they were given the opportunity to dine like Marines as well. The women gathered in a courtyard located in the heart of Range 215's Military Operations on Urban Terrain town and received their pre-packaged military rations.
The women rustled through the boxes of meals, finding entrees that seemed the most appetizing and CLB-7 Marines walked them through the art of preparing the meals. As the women ate their chow, they were briefed on what was to come; patrolling in a fire team through a simulated combat zone.
CLB-7 Marines acted as enemy combatants. They hid in buildings, jumped through windows and ran through alley ways to provide targets for the wives to fire at while they patrolled.
"I definitely have a newfound respect for my husband," Krohn said. "Running around with (a flak jacket) is really heavy with the SAPI plates in it and in the desert, it's hot. When you're running around sweating and firing blanks, it's really an adrenalin rush."
The day was fast paced and ran well into the afternoon. The women were then scheduled to experience the Combat Vehicles Off-Road Terrain Course in transit back to Del Valle Field. This was followed by an obstacle course and Marine Corps Martial Arts Program demonstration.
"I think it was definitely a really good experience getting familiarized with what my husband does when he's deployed," Krohn said. "I think that's a big key in a relationship; to understand what the spouse, who's in the military, does."
Many of the wives were part of the volunteer program for the battalion, but had never gotten together to meet one another and have fun.
The wives not only experienced the physical demands of what it takes to be a Marine, but also experienced the camaraderie and support that is thickly woven into the Marine Corps lifestyle.