News: Alaska Infantrymen host G.I. Jane Day
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Thick fog and a rain storm just beyond the snowcapped mountain tops surrounding Fort Wainwright, Alaska, wasn’t enough to scare the wives of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment ‘Bobcats’, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from spending a day in their husbands’ boots.
Sixty-nine wives, Army spouses, donned uniforms for the 2nd Annual 1-5th G.I. Jane Day here, Sept 20.
G.I. Jane Day has become a common event across the Army that allows Army spouses to live a day in the life of their soldiers.
“The spouses really enjoy seeing what their soldiers do and one of the firm beliefs of this battalion is that strong Soldiers need strong families,” 1-5th operations officer, Maj. Jason Dye, said. “We brought the wives out here to let them see some of what their Soldiers do and to help strengthen the bond between husband and wife.”
To start the event, participants were broken down into two groups and then sent out to accomplish a wide range of events such as the obstacle course, firing range and shoot house.
“When the guys were deployed we were all wondering what are they doing, what’s it like over there and this gives us the feel of what they go through,” Debra Smith said.
During the firing range, each participant, with the help of their soldier, fired the M4 Carbine and the 9 mm pistol.
From there the women warriors moved to the shoot house, where their tactical expertise clashed with the lessons learned from their husbands embellished combat stories during an intense fire fight with each other. Each participant was equipped with MILES gear, which allows the spouses to know when they have been hit by an opposing forces laser and offers a more realistic feel to the training.
“I know this [G.I. Jane Day] isn’t exactly what it’s like to be a soldier, it would probably be a lot scarier if there were live bullets, but it’s really fun and it lets us know kind of what they go through,” said Smith, whose husband, Spc. Donovan Smith, is an infantryman with the 1-5th.
After being tactically tested, the wives traveled by Stryker to the obstacle course, where they took on events like the confidence climb, barbed wire low crawl and tire run.
The teams were rewarded for their efforts with a certificate from Lt. Col. Jason Wesbrock, 1-5th commander and left with a renewed sense of what it means to be an Army spouse.
“I’m really glad I got to come out and interact with the different people, it was an awesome experience,” Smith said.
For photos of the event please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1-25_sbct/sets/72157631585138389/