Twentynine Palms -- The Combat Center hosted an Integrated Training Exercise for Spouses aboard the Combat Center, March 30, 2017, where spouses and significant others of Marines and sailors from a variety of Combat Center units got to experience a day in the life of a Marine.
Marine Corps Community Services, Lifestyle Insights Networking Knowledge Skills, and Government and External Affairs, G-5 hosted a group of 38 participants during the ITX for Spouses event. The group visited training areas including Range 800, where they learned the basics of countering Improvised Explosive Devices, the Combat Convoy Simulator and Range 220, the largest Military Operations on Urban Terrain facility in the Marine Corps.
According to Barbara Cortez, participant, touring Range 220 helped her understand the environment her husband may have seen during his deployments in Iraq.
“It gives me a better idea of what it was like for him,” Cortez said. “I learned a lot of information that my husband has not shared with me. Overall, I’ve had a lot of fun and really enjoyed myself.”
Melvin Harris, counter IED instructor, Marine Corps Engineer School, took the lead in educating the participants at Range 800. According to Harris, it’s important for family members to get hands-on experience to see what their Marines or sailors might be doing.
“It’s a lot different than sitting around a dinner table and explaining what we do,” Harris said. “When a spouse actually sees what their Marines do, the lightbulbs go off and they can talk about it. Whever we can get spouses out to events like this, I think it benefits the Marine Corps and improves the whole family dynamic.”
At the Combat Convoy Simulator, located at the Battle Simulation Center at Camp Wilson, participants also had the opportunity to drive vehicles in a simulated convoy and operate simulated .50-caliber machine guns, M-4 and M-16 rifles.
“If you have the opportunity to do it, go ahead and do it,” said Yvonne Slliz, participant. “It’s a good eye-opener, especially for new spouses or those new to the military.”
The ITX for Spouses program is planning another event in the fall. Anyone interested in participating can call Nicole Horta at (760) 830-1696 for more information.