News: Military spouses experience jungle warfare training center
Story by Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr
CAMP GONZALES, Japan - Marine and Navy spouses tackled jungle training during a Jane Wayne Day at the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonzalves April 26.
Spouses of Marines and sailors from Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, attended the unit’s first “survivor”-style Jane Wayne Day to share a portion of the Marine Corps experience.
The women rappelled at the center’s rappel site and traversed through mud-filled trenches Marines have nicknamed Peanut Butter Alley. They also learned to prepare wild game and how to find cover and concealment in the jungle.
“Jane Wayne Day is a day for the spouses to get together and do what our Marines and sailors do, with the exception of us having fun doing it,” said Shandra Hardy, the Headquarters Bn. family readiness officer and a military spouse.
“We thought it would be a really cool idea to have a Jane Wayne day that was different from what we typically have,” said Hardy.
Hardy was one of 15 women to tackle the center’s challenges.
“I loved it,” said Hardy. “Most of all, I loved the opportunity to meet some of our spouses that I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet.”
It really was a way to cultivate a bond and meet one another face-to-face, she added.
“I’m pretty sure it was eye-opening for them,” said Staff Sgt. Francisco J. Sanchez, the Headquarters Bn. substance abuse counseling officer and deputy family readiness officer for HQ Bn.
“It was good. They got dirty, they sweated. They got something out of it,” said Sanchez, who also participated in the Jane Wayne Day events.
“I’ve participated in Jane Wayne days in my previous units, but something to this aspect – going through the jungle – never.
“I’m pretty sure that on the day-to-day basis, they understand that being a Marine is a full-time job, plain and simple,” Sanchez said.
Physically going out there, really helps them realize how difficult it can be, added Sanchez.
Sanchez said this experience gave the women a better insight into their spouses’ lives as active-duty service members.
“It was a great way to see what Marines are capable of and what kind of training they endure,” said Jessica Valdez, a military spouse. “I can appreciate my husband, and the hard work he does even more now.”
After getting wet and covered in mud, Valdez, Hardy and the other spouses made it out of the jungle unscathed.
“They have a lot of work, it’s a lot of work,” said Hardy, about the life and training of a Marine. “But we all made it look easy. We all had fun doing it. They call it work; we call it play.”