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Samantha Ducharme, wife of Lance Cpl. Tristofer Ducharme, mortarman, Weapons Co, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, traverses the obstacle course Jan. 24, 2013. Ducharme finished the obstacle course the fastest in her group.

Photo by Cpl. William J. Jackson

1/7 families get taste of their Marines’ life

1 Feb 2013 | Cpl. William Jackson

Family members of 3rd  Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Marines and sailors got a chance to walk in their loved one’s boots for a day Jan. 24,  when they geared up and participated in the unit’s Jane Wayne Day aboard the Combat Center and its training areas.

Family members rode in 7-tons, wore flak jackets, ate rations, learned about and fired the M4A1 rifle and M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle and experienced many other aspects of their husbands’ lives. Throughout the course of the day, the family members traveled to the Combat Center’s obstacle course, Del Valle Field and Range 106 for demonstrations and force-on-force training.

The guests were divided into four groups, with a platoon sergeant leading each group.

“It’s exciting,” said Andrea Tatayon, family readiness officer, 3/7, about the day’s events. “We haven’t had a Jane Wayne Day in a few years.”

The first part of the day put the willing participants through some of the physical strains their Marines endure. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and the obstacle course set the bar for the rest of the day’s events.

The groups split up to allow for more hands on MCMAP training with their instructors. Gunnery Sgt. Francisco Martinez, operations chief, Weapons Company, showed the family members moves like hip tosses, leg sweeps and wristlock techniques.

Throughout practical application of the martial arts techniques, Rochelle Kimmel had a chance to hip toss her husband, Cpl. Gavin Kimmel, squad leader, Weapons Co., before they rotated to the looming obstacle course.

“I expected this to be a lot of hard work. Even though it is a lot of hard work it’s fun,” said Samantha Ducharme, after she completed the obstacle course. “I know why my husband complains now.”

Once the excitement of the obstacle course and the MCMAP sessions subsided, the group geared up, loaded the 7-tons and headed to run a modified combat fitness test. “I’m actually really excited to shoot,” Ducharme said. “We’re from Alaska so we shoot all of the time.”

The four platoons ended their day at Range 106. Each person, dressed in their loved one’s flak and kevlar, headed to the firing line to put rounds down range.

“I’ve done a couple (Jane Wayne Day),” said Ted Speers, brother of Capt. Matt Speers, company commander, Company I. “What I really liked was being able to handle and ask questions directly to the Marines about all of the individual weapon systems.”

The day served as a unique learning experience for the family and friends in attendance, giving them a brief look into the daily life of their Marines.

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