MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The spouses first became acquainted with each other, and then the L.I.N.KS. trainers began their instruction. Different aspects of the Marine Corps were covered, beginning with the organization’s mission to be “a certain force in uncertain times.”
The class continued with familiarizing the spouses with Marine Corps acronyms and terminology such as PME, which means professional military education; devil dog, the famous nickname given to Marines by German forces in World War I; and chucks, the nickname for the class C service uniform.
“We want to empower spouses to thrive with the Marine Corps lifestyle,” said Amber Bilderain, L.I.N.K.S. trainer, Marine Corps Family Team Building. “If a spouse fosters good feelings about the Marine Corps, it only makes their relationship better.”
The class also covered the different services and places aboard the Combat Center such as the New Parent Support Group, the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society and the Career Resource Office.
“This class has definitely taught me about what the Corps has to offer, especially on this base,” said Allison Cordero, Marine spouse. “Getting here at first, it may not look like much, but there really is a lot going on.”
The spouses were also informed about the many popular recreation sites such as the base theatre, Sandy Hill Lanes Bowling Center, and Desert Winds Golf Course.
“The career resource center will help me because I’m looking for a job,” Cordero said. “And the recreational activities will help me get involved with the base.”
The L.I.N.K.S., a program under Marine Corps Family Team Building, boasts a team of 55 volunteers aboard the Combat Center. In addition to an introductory class, topics such as separations during deployment, housing and entitlements and Marine Corps functions are discussed in an open forum. Sessions for spouses are held once a month.
“Something we want to get across to spouses is how strong they can be,” said Bilderain. “They were chosen by their Marine for their support.”
The L.I.N.K.S. classes organized specifically for spouses date back to 1996, when military spouses in Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., came together to teach new spouses about the Marine Corps lifestyle. Over the years, the wives increased their networking and efforts. The first official session was held in 1997 aboard the Combat Center.
“I think these classes should be mandatory for any spouse,” Cordero said.
As the Marine Corps grows, L.I.N.K.S. will be there to educate and support all additions to the Marine Corps family.