MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
From the moment the ladies stepped off the bus, their heads began to twist and turn as they examined the buildings around them. They closely examined, even at times touching, the buildings and the stone walls separating the buildings and the dirt roads.
The wives of the Marines of Tactical Training Exercise Control Group got a taste of their husbands’ jobs in the “A Day in the Life Of” event held on Range 215 Sept. 25, 2011.
As they entered one of the buildings, they were introduced to a number of Afghan women role-players dressed in their native garb.
They were then led into a room with floors covered in Middle Eastern rugs, where a group of Afghan men sat in a circle speaking a foreign tongue. The wives sat in chairs lining the walls of the room, looking at the men in confusion and interest.
The program allowed these wives to go out to a military operations on urban terrain town and meet Afghan role-players, experience some of the culture Marines overseas are exposed to, and get a feel for the Combat Center’s training environment.
The event started with an introduction of the Afghan women to the Marine wives. They began talking in an informal manner, sitting and talking. They took pictures with the Afghan women and asked questions about them and their culture. Laughter and chatter filled the small room.
As they continued in their discussions around the room food was brought in, the table was the floor. The Afghan women served the colorful arrangement of food, handed out plates to their guests before preparing a plate for themselves.
“It’s amazing,” said LeAne Bustamante, wife of Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Bustamante and a mother of two. “The food is really good.”
After their meal, the wives were introduced to some music and dancing by the Afghan women, an event off-limits to men.
The event concluded with a brief tour of the MOUT town, leading the wives and the accompanying Afghan women through the dirt roads covering the city.
The women were led by a guide, who described the daily exercises performed there, and the role of the Afghan contractors who help simulate the overseas environment.
Women who attended the event recommend it for all Marine wives.
The event is scheduled around the Combat Center’s training schedule, and the next date is not yet released.
“It gives the spouses a little bit more appreciation and hands-on of what their husbands do,” said Bustamante.
Ron Matthins, the role player director for Tactical Training Exercise Control group, encouraged all Marine spouses to look for the flyers and information on the next scheduled event.