News: Spouses not "burnin’ daylight" at Jane Wayne Day
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay - Pfc. Joshua Ervin and Lance Cpl. Ben Lake took quite a beating — from more than 30 spouses of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 Marines and sailors. The two unlucky Marines were training dummies for the martial arts portion of the unit’s Jane Wayne Day, Oct. 12.
The event included a full day of activities to introduce them to military training their active duty spouses know very well.
The spouses rose bright and early and reported to the base chapel by 7 a.m., where Lt. Col. Edwin R. Rich II, the MALS-24 commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey T. Dixon, the MALS-24 sergeant major, made opening remarks.
“I wish I were doing what you’re doing today,” Rich said. “I haven’t done the (obstacle course) in five years.”
Dixon encouraged the spouses to be safe and have fun.
Rina Thomas, the family readiness officer for MALS-24, said in addition to the spouses being able to experience the active duty lifestyle, the event gives spouses and service members a chance to come together and encourage cohesion.
At Boondocker Training Area, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructors showed basic fighting techniques to the spouses. Each of the spouses executed stances, their fists at the ready, their eyes on the MCMAP instructors, dressed in “boots and utes” and flak jackets. Lack of motivation meant extra push-ups.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring awareness to Marine Corps Martial Arts,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Duron, a MCMAP instructor with MALS-24.
The 31-year-old native of San Antonio, Texas, said it’s a different experience teaching non-active duty spouses Marine Corps Martial Arts. Many of the spouses had no experience compared to new Marines, who have already earned their tan belts by the time they leave boot camp.
Although Marines don’t spend every single day shooting at the rifle range, running through the obstacle course or conducting MCMAP training, Duron said Jane Wayne Day allows the spouses to have “an understanding of the readiness and preparation their spouse needs to have at all times.”
After practicing various moves, the spouses lined up to practice defending themselves from an attacker. Ervin and Lake, dressed in thick, black padding made little movement as each spouse punched, kicked and sometimes pulled them to the ground.
“(The spouses are) a lot more enthusiastic (than the service members),” said Staff Sgt. Claudia Moreno, the career planner at MALS-24. “There’s no pressure to excel or make a certain standard. They seem to enjoy it.”
Moreno, 28, of Santa Ana, Calif., corrected the spouses’ form as they practiced their martial arts moves.
The spouses left Boondocker Training Area for the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, where they learned how to shoot various weapons, like an M2 .50-caliber machine gun and an M249 squad automatic weapon.
“It’s been fun,” said Shanna Hathcock, 23, a MALS-24 spouse. “(Shooting at the ISMT is) like playing (the video game) ‘Call of Duty.’”
The native of Dallas said she wanted to “get out of the house” and experience what her husband does as a service member. Hathcock looked forward to shooting at the rifle range the most. It was familiar territory for her because her husband is a rifle coach.
“It’s cool to actually see and hold a gun,” Hathcock said. “I’m more nervous about the obstacle course more than anything, looks a little challenging.”
Sam Haffner, of Post Falls, Idaho, said the activities were also familiar territory, because she served nine years in the military. Haffner, a MALS-24 spouse, came to her first Jane Wayne Day to offer moral support to a friend. Though the military activities were not new to her, she said she missed some aspects of the military, and enjoyed herself.
Lunchtime was part of the Jane Wayne Day experience as spouses dined on meals, ready to eat. Several of the spouses were already familiar with MREs and enjoyed them. After lunch, the spouses prepared to fire weapons at Kaneohe Bay Range Training Facility.
“It’s a great opportunity for my wife to see what a typical day is for the Marines here,” said Cpl. Luis Ocampo, an ordnance technician with MALS-24, who accompanied his wife to the range and helped her with her shooting.
“It’s rough,” Ocampo’s wife said. “I’m not athletic so all the MCMAP stuff was pretty hardcore … it was really fun learning all the self-defense techniques.”
After the spouses finished firing, they were escorted back to Boondocker Training Area, where they learned how to go through the obstacle course. Marines were on-hand to support anyone who needed a boost.
“I did my own version of the ‘O’ course,” said Candiss Holdorf, of Rockford, Ill. “It was harder than it looks. When you are vertically challenged, it’s difficult.”
The spouses rounded out the day by heading back to the base chapel.
“I always appreciated what he did but now it’s a better understanding,” Ocampo’s wife said.