Warhorse spouses get a taste of soldier life
September 7, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA. - Spouses of soldiers assigned to the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, gathered at Rose Field, on JBLM, for a Spouse Spur Ride, Sept. 5, 2013.
The event was designed to give the spouses some idea of what their soldiers endured during their own spur ride, said Capt. Paul Kelly, commander, Company A, 1-14 Cav.
It included events such as an Army Physical Fitness Test, the M4 range, a mockup grenade range and an obstacle course.
"It's just a fun event. It's an event where we get the spouses ... to come out and enjoy the day in the life of a soldier, so that they can understand their soldier better," said Lt. Col. Robert Halverson, squadron commander, 1-14 Cav.
Spouses gathered at 8a.m. for accountability and the APFT. They were separated into groups based on their soldier's troop and moved to their APFT test area.
"I think that the APFT was fair (and) it was fun to do," said Kristi Kelly, wife to Capt. Paul Kelly, Company A., 1-14 Cav. "You have a minute to do however many sit-ups and pushups and then you run. I think everyone here did as much as they could and they pushed themselves a little harder. I think it was pretty fun."
The wives then donned their husbands' Improved Outer Tactical Vest and were transported via Light Medium Tactical Vehicle truck to the M4 range. They received a safety brief and weapon orientation, and then proceeded to fire at a 25-meter target. Their scores were grouped together for tally at the end of the event.
They were then treated to Meals-Ready-to-Eat before trying their hand at lobbing training grenades at various targets. They conducted tire runs, low crawled under barbed wire and sprinted from station-to-station until all six stations were complete and the mockups were neutralized. Next was a confidence course where the spouses poise and endurance was put to the test.
"Just like a crucible for the troops with their own spur ride, coming together and doing something like this, builds a shared understanding, a shared experience," explained Halverson. "Getting together people together to sit and talk is something; but a shared experience like this, it builds a team.
Many of the spouses have participated in spur rides like this before. Halverson believes this is how to build resiliency.
"We always talk about resiliency. We build resilient families and soldiers. How do you do that? It's things like this. It's about building a team," stated Halverson. "(Many of) the people that turned out today are the core of our [Family Readiness Group] and the core of our families. If you build resilient families, you build resilient soldiers at the end and that's what this is all about."