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Nicole Thorpe, wife of Cpl. Joshua Thorpe, mortarman, Weapons Co., 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, takes a picture of Marines conducting a counter improvised explosive device course during 2/7’s Field Safari at Range 800 March 23, 2012.::r::::n::

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi

Wives watch husbands get in the action

30 Mar 2012 | Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi

Marines with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, set up a cordon around the military operations on urban terrain town. The counter to improvised explosive device operation was sure to give them some unexpected surprises.

They see movement on the roof of a three-story building. Preparing for a possible simulated threat, the Marines look through their scopes at the dark figures, only to see they are their wives snapping photos.

Wives and fiancés of Weapons Co., 2/7, Marines went to Range 800 to see their husbands in action during 2/7’s Field Safari March 23, 2012.

This completed a series of safaris held by the unit for their loved ones. The battalion started the first one on the last Friday in February, continuing to the fifth and final one this month.

Each company completed the counter to IED operation on a different Friday and invited their wives, significant others and family members to get up close and personal with some of what they do as infantrymen.

At other events, families experienced their Marines’ job either first hand or by a demonstration. The safari allowed them to see their Marines, not a random person demonstrating a technique, in their natural environment - the field.

“The whole purpose of this is to bring the spouses out and allow them to see what it is their husband does when they say they’re in the field,” said Staff Sgt. Ira Prahl, deputy family readiness officer, 2/7. “Not only that but it’s good for them to see what it is that we’re doing as a battalion to prepare them for our deployment to Afghanistan.”

The spouses and fiancés began their day at 2/7’s headquarters, learning about the desert environment and safety regulations. From there, the women loaded up into a van and headed out to the range, where their Marines were waiting for them.

“Look how cute with their little trucks,” said Kady Cottle, wife of Lance Cpl. Richard D. Cottle, machine-gunner, 2/7, as the van arrived next to a group of grunts standing beside a line of humvees.

The spouses and fiancés inside looked on with interest, as the Marines prepared for the exercise.

As the ladies stepped out of the vehicle onto the MOUT town, they were warned about the surprises lurking below the sand in the town. Before they could watch their Marines navigate through the town, they would have to survive it themselves first.

They instinctively formed a single-file line, following in the footsteps of their guide and jumping through doorways to avoid the simulated IEDs staged below. Wary of their every movement, they managed to make it safely to the roof of a building without setting off any of the fake explosions.

With the ladies safely watching from above, Weapons Co. was cleared to begin.

The Marines traversed through the MOUT town, eyes open to any possible warning signs of an IED, while their wives’ eyes were open to what played out below.

“As much as they wouldn’t admit it, the Marines liked having them out there,” Prahl said. “They get to show off a little bit.”

The ladies leaned over the side of the building taking pictures and jumping, startled at the occasional boom of a simulated IED or as a burst of simulated gunfire rang out over the town.

After, the women headed down to see their Marines, once again careful of any simulated IEDs still left untriggered.

The group sat down to eat a traditional Marine Corps meal - Meals, Ready to Eat. The ladies had heard MRE horror stories from their husbands, and regarded them with suspicion.

“It was an experience,” said Megan Borst, fiancé of Lance Cpl. Cutler R. Brost, squad leader, 2/7. “I’m glad I know what my Marine does for us.”

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