'Jane Waynes' get taste of life as Marines
By Sgt. Charles E. Moore
| | June 20, 2003
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
The sun was high by 10 in the morning, but still covered by a cloudy haze, keeping the temperature low as a cool breeze blew through the infiltration course at Range 505, Edson Range. A quiet nervousness hung in the air, just as thick as the smell of perfume.
Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, held a Jane Wayne Day for more than 15 spouses, girlfriends and civilian workers June 13. The group, mostly women, met at the range chapel for introductions at 9 a.m.
Col. Robert Wagner III, commanding officer, WFTBn, welcomed everyone to the event. The group then departed for the infiltration course and kicked off a day filled with events and challenges to help them understand what Marines do.
"It's good to see what the staff and recruits go through, so when they say they injured themselves on something, I know what they're talking about," said Glenn Aquno, athletic trainer and the only male on the trip. "I'm a little nervous about the girls outdoing me," he anxiously added.
Aguno wasn't the only one who was apprehensive about doing well.
"I just don't want to make a fool of myself and have to see these people tomorrow," said Jaime McLaughlin, manager, fitness center, WFTBn.
The self conscious thoughts dissipated as the participants started the infiltration course. Many soon realized it wasn't as easy as it looked.
"This makes you realize how tough the military is and what they go through," said Sarah Wilde, one of the participants.
"She did a good job," said Wilde's boyfriend, Cpl. Derek Brooks, clerk, WFTBn. "It isn't as easy as they think, and now she understands what I do and why I'm tired."
The day didn't slow down and ran well into the afternoon as the group learned marksmanship, ate Meals, Ready to Eat, fired on the indoor simulated marksmanship trainer, overtook the confidence course and even fired live rounds on the range.
"This wasn't any powder puff Jane Wayne Day," Wagner said as he wiped the sweat away after completing the infiltration course. "(Marines) come home early, late, dirty and tired ... A lot of husbands rarely talk about what they do. We're going to show (their spouses) what they do."
The guests experienced more of what it takes to be a Marine than just the physically draining parts. They also experienced the camaraderie. Many of them were part of the Key Volunteer Network, but had never gotten together to have fun and meet one another.
"It gives us a chance to interact with people we've never even met," said Kelly Purdimann, coordinator, Key Volunteer Network. "It's important to make this a community and get the camaraderie."
"You don't get a chance to meet the other spouses unless you do something like this," added Allie Skimehorn, key volunteer.
The group grew closer together by the end of the day, and experienced what their Marines go through each day.