MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- A group lined up to the rope climb portion of an obstacle course ready to attempt to reach the top. A participant nervously steps to the obstacle as she grips the rope with both hands and prepares for the challenge. She leaps from the ground and shoots her hand up to grip the rope again. Her leg vigorously swung in a circle as she wrapped the excess rope around her ankle and pressed on the rope with the opposite foot to stop from sliding. Suddenly she froze before furthering her climb and there was silence. A Marine jumped onto the rope next to her’s and climbed to equal height to talk her through the next steps to continue. The Marine was her husband and the climber was a participant in 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s Jane Wayne Day, which began at the Obstacle Course April 11, 2014.
The event is designed for Marines and their spouses to spend a day together, experiencing a snapshot of what units do for training. 2/7’s Jane Wayne Day consisted of a run through the obstacle course, a course of fire on a shooting range with rifles, a trip to the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, and a presentation of vehicles used by the Marine Corps today.
“I really appreciated all the work the family readiness officer and the command put into making today happen, because I know they put a lot of work into it,” said Sharon Berg, wife of Lance Cpl. Phillip Berg, machine gunner, 2/7. “I had a great time with the obstacle course and I couldn’t wait to shoot.”
Approximately 75 participants, including Marines, spouses and family members participated in the day-long event as a way to spend time with family and give them a taste of what Marines do.
“The goal of the event was to keep every part of it fresh and interesting so that family members can experience what their loved ones do,” said Diane Durdan, family readiness officer, 2/7. “Putting on a flak and Kevlar, they can do that at home, but going to the range, being in the environment, even just eating the same military rations a Marine would in the field, gives them just a little bit more of an understanding.”
Some spouses used the day not only to experience a piece of the Marine Corps, but to show their loved ones what they can do.
“I’m really into fitness so the obstacle course was enjoyable for me,” Berg said. “It was also an opportunity to try and impress my husband even if he was there when I needed his help on each obstacle.”
Marines volunteering to help organize the events see the value of families and spouses participating in the small pieces of their Marine’s day-to-day life.
“Events like this are good for wives and families to see what Marines do and it’s great because even doing a small part of what we do creates moments they can spend together,” said Pfc. Wilbert Morales, rifleman, 2/7.
At the end of the day, all participants were awarded certificates of completion signifying what family members and spouses had accomplished.
“Each Jayne Wayne Day will be new and different,” Durdan said. “2/7 has a great group of Marines and family members who are very close. I think the most important part of today is families having fun and reinforcing the support system we want to help build.”