MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif --
Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 organized an unforgettable opportunity for Marine spouses with a Jane Wayne Day held at various ranges aboard the Combat Center Sept. 27, 2013.
Spouses gathered outside of the unit’s vehicle lot, geared up in flak jackets and kevlar helmets, and loaded in the back of medium tactical vehicle replacements, or seven-tons, to experience what it is like to be an MWSS-374 Marine for a day.
The first stop was Range 108, where each spouse learned how to properly fire the M4 service rifle and M203 grenade launcher. After a series of safety briefs were given, including the four weapon safety rules, the spouses were escorted to the firing line.
Accompanied by combat-marksmanship trainers, the spouses took aim with the M4 rifle and M203 grenade launcher and fired at targets ranging 100-400 yards.
“I was very nervous to fire the rifle, even fidgeting, but I managed to do it,” said Maricruz Madril, spouse of Lance Cpl. Aaron Madril, combat engineer, MWSS-374.
Following the live-fire, spouses had a hands-on lesson with explosive ordnance disposal robots, and some geared up in a 95-pound bomb suit, attempting to maneuver in it.
Spouses were then provided Meals Ready-to-Eat for lunch before traveling to Range 112 to watch a controlled demolition of composition four plastic explosives.
“We held this as an effort to allow spouses to experience multiple activities associated with their Marine’s lives,” said Capt. Ronald Dutil, company commander, Motor Transport Company, MWSS-374. “It showcases what we as Marines do, whether it’s the live-fire ranges or explosive ordnance disposal.”
After the EOD demo, spouses made their final stop at the utilities platoon lot, where they took a tour and observed the tents that Marines use when not in garrison, the generators that power their equipment, and more weapon systems that included the M240 Bravo and Mark 19 automatic grenade launcher.
“Today was definitely an experience,” Sasha Martinez, spouse of Staff Sgt. Chris Martinez, fire fighter specialist, MWSS-374. “It was challenging holding the rifle and wearing the (flak jacket) all day, but it was very fun, and I loved it.”
All hands returned to the lot to disembark and conclude the day. Spouses had a newfound appreciation for what their Marine does.
“I could see this was an experience unlike anything the spouses had ever seen,” Dutil said. “But because of that, they felt a part of something bigger. They could see that this is more than just a job, it’s a lifestyle.”