Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point --
A hearty breakfast followed by the motivational screams of a Marine Corps drill instructor would give most Marines a memorable flashback to their time at boot camp. For Marine spouses, this is not something they get to experience before marrying into the Marine Corps family.
This changed May 7, when Marine Aircraft Group 14 and Marine Attack Squadrons 223 and 542 put together a joint Jane Wayne Day here to expose the spouses to life as an active duty Marine.
“Some of you may not understand what we do everyday,” said Col. Russell Sanborn, the commanding officer for MAG-14, during the start of Jane Wayne Day. “I hope this gives you a taste of Marine Corps life.”
As the spouses finished their breakfast and made their way toward the air station obstacle course, they were greeted by three Marines wearing the famous drill instructor campaign cover. Just like at recruit training, these three Marines began rushing the spouses to locate their gear and quickly board the waiting buses.
Nearly 60 spouses from the three units joined together for the first joint Jane Wayne Day to be conducted here, according to Rachel Banton, VMA-542 family readiness officer.
Spouses were not only yelled at, but also received a Harrier demonstration, shot the same weapons their active duty spouse fires and participated in a modified Combat Fitness Test.
“This was great,” said Linda Sanborn, wife of the MAG-14 commanding officer. “A Marine’s job is harder than it looks, but is done with such ease.”
As temperatures peaked over 80 degrees, the spouses returned from the rifle range to begin the final portion of this unique event, the modified CFT.
“Are you sure this is modified?” many of the spouses asked, as Marines demonstrated each portion of the CFT that the spouses themselves would have to complete.
Planning all the events proved to be a challenge for the three family readiness officers, who were tasked by their commanding officers to put Jane Wayne Day together.
“Working together as a team really allows for more flexibility with what activities we can offer, as well as an increased ‘team’ to assist with the moving parts,” explained Banton. “Our number one goal was a unique, fun and safe experience for the participants to get a view as to what their Marine experiences on a day-to-day basis.”
Aside from gaining the “day in the life” type experience, spouses were also able to build their own support network by meeting fellow spouses from within their command and of the other commands participating.
“I like meeting the other wives,” said Caroline Perez, a spouse from VMA-223. “We got to come together, have fun and get a taste of what our husbands do.”
After a long day of shooting and sweating through the CFT course, each spouse was presented with the target they shot at the range, a dog tag and a certificate of completion.
The spouses and family readiness officers talked about future Jane Wayne Day events to build upon the success of this initial joint effort.
“With anything new, this was a learning experience for all involved” Banton said. “We will now be able to take the lessons learned from this event and build on them to make it even bigger and better for the future.”