Spouses enjoy Seahorse Challenge
October 17, 2013
Roaming around post, visitors can see activities like fitness tests, handling weapons and bridging exercises routinely.
On the morning of Oct. 2, a different group took part in these events Soldiers do on a daily basis. As part of the Seahorse Spouses Challenge, spouses from across post were able to compete and get a familiarization with basic functions involved with being a Soldier.
"It's intended to get the spouses together and give them a chance to see a day in the life of Soldiers," said Lt. Col. John Lloyd, battalion commander for the 19th Engineers. "We want the spouses to have a great day and have a lot of fun doing it."
About 60 spouses participated, spread across several different teams. Spouses were judged on quantity, timeliness and accuracy, depending on the event.
The day started with a modified Army Physical Fitness Test where the spouses did one minute of sit-ups and push-ups, and ran one lap around the track at Flipper Field. From there, participants were broken down into three groups, completing the remaining tasks in a round-robin format and traveling across post by bus.
The first station took place at Pilcher's Landing, where teams put together floating bridge components in a tactical environment. Spouses were strapped to life jackets and taken on boats onto the Ohio River, demonstrating team work along the way.
At Heins Range, spouses had the opportunity to shoot an M4 and M249 at designated targets. The spouses were heavily monitored and instructed on the proper way to load and aim their weapons from the ground and makeshift turrets. Other activities included the chance to throw a simulated hand grenade.
"It gives (the spouses) familiarizations with the weapon system," Capt. Matthew McDaniel, headquarters company commander for the 19th Engineers. "Their spouses are allowed to accompany them and walk them through the procedure."
The last station required spouses to take part in an obstacle course that focused on teamwork and communication to complete tasks at the Dunagan Team Development Course. Teams were given a time limit to finish these activities that simulate scenarios Soldiers may face while deployed.
While most of the spouses were female, there were a few males who took part in the event. Brandon Olejniczak was at the event with his wife and said he enjoyed taking part.
"It was strange (being the only guy) at first but after the last physical challenge it wasn't as bad," Olejniczak said. "Everyone has accepted me pretty well."
Many of the actual Soldiers attended the event to support their spouses. Capt. Matthew Wright of the 76th Engineer Company was responsible for watching his infant daughter while his wife, Angie, went through the various challenges.
"I'm really glad we had such great turnout," Angie said. "It allows the Soldiers to take a break and brings the spouses together."
Overall, the event was considered a success from those who participated.
"We get the opportunity to spend some time with the other spouses and increase camaraderie," said Natalie Crimmins, part of the "Deuce Divas." "There is a benefit to actually doing something together."