MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- An early morning breeze blows and people rise as the Marines begin to march across the field. When the music stops, everyone takes their seats. The Lifestyle, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills program held its 10th Annual Combined Arms Exercise for spouses at Felix Field, Oct. 23, 2014.
CAX for Spouses is unique to this base and was started in 2004 by Combat Center volunteers. At the time of its conception, the Integrated Training Exercise, which is the final training exercise that a unit conducts before it deploys, was known as the Combined Arms Exercise. The L.I.N.K.S volunteers thought it could benefit the families to have a CAX of its own.
“Our base is the premiere training base [of the Marine Corps],” said Amber Bilderain, L.I.N.K.S program manager. “The Marines who are deploying overseas, will come here to prepare for their deployment.”
During CAX for Spouses, participants are afforded the opportunity to witness a colors ceremony, compete in a modified Combat Fitness Test and gain knowledge on the Marine Corps and how it maintains combat readiness.
“Our Marines and sailors are trained to understand the Marine Corps, so they get all the information they need,” Bilderain said. “But as family members, you’re often just thrown into the mix. If you’re new to the area, or even new to the Marine Corps, it can be overwhelming. This is a great training package for them to understand the Marine Corps but also get a good appreciation for a day-in-the-life.”
Some of the activities provided during the event included lessons in Marine Corps history and tradition, as well as rank structure and customs and courtesies. Being able to experience a variety of activities gave the spouses a glimpse into what pre-deployment training is like for their Marine.
“It allows the spouses to get a perspective of exactly what their husbands do on an everyday basis,” said Lance Cpl. Jesus Anselmo Batista, student, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School. “From the type of training they go through, to how to prepare for deployments.”
L.I.N.K.S also hosts CAX for kids, which is a semi-annual event that takes place once in the spring and again in the fall. If a spouse or family member is unable to make it to these events there are monthly classroom sessions hosted by L.I.N.K.S, which can help provide loved ones with an introduction to the community and the Marine Corps.
For more information on how to participate call 760-830-1696.