Fort Bragg spouses get to experience military life
Francine Sablan slides down the zip line Friday at the jump tower off Longstreet Road. Sablan is a returning participant in the Military Spouse Day Conference and anticipates taking part again next year.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - For two days, Francine Sablan got a glimpse of what her husband experiences as a Soldier by participating in Military Spouse Day Conference 2010, coordinated by Army Community Service.

On day one, Sablan participated in a basic self-defense class May 6.

It was scary to think of the different scenarios that would warrant self-defense, but Sablan said the class provided helpful information such as trusting one's intuition and avoiding potentially dangerous scenarios.

"That was very useful. It was a very practical class," said Sablan, wife of Spc. Jesse Sablan, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.
She also took a clay target shooting class which ACS encouraged participants to enjoy. All equipment was provided as spouses got to shoot a round of skeet and trap.

"It was so fun. That was the first time I shot a 12-gauge shotgun. I can hit a moving object, so I didn't know I could do that before," Sablan said.

This year, 68 spouses took part in the conference, said Catherine Mansfield, Installation Volunteer Services. An extra 24 slots were added so that applicants could be accommodated.
The conference enables spouses to put themselves in the place of their Soldiers.

"It gives them a taste of what their Soldier goes through everyday as far as training, the skills they need to have and why they come home as tired as they do," Mansfield said.

Before taking part in the conference, Laurie Lutz said she already had some idea of what her husband does as a Soldier assigned to Company C, 82nd Brigade Support Battalion. But, the conference sharpened that outlook.

Lutz tackled the 34-foot jump tower on day two. As she stood with her husband, Capt. Ken Lutz after getting off the zip line, Laurie described it as an adrenaline rush and said she remains proud of him.

"I've always been proud of him. It gives me more of a perspective,... a tiny little piece of what he goes through."

But, Ken had more riding on Laurie's jump than a sense of pride because he told her before the jump that he would wash dishes for the night if she had a good exit. Impressed with the exit, he said, "I will do the dishes tonight."

For Sablan, stepping off the jump tower was a little more than she had initially anticipated.
"That first step was a leap of faith. I took a deep breath and just took the leap," she said. "It's a rush. It makes your adrenaline pump to jump off." Valerie Marcy agreed.

"Once you got going, it was fine, but stepping out of that building was hard."
Sablan said being a Soldier for a day took her out of her comfort zone as a housewife, but she enjoyed it.

Other classes included in the two-day conference were stepping stones dAfAcor, jewelry making basics, Zumba and social networking basics.

Marcy, who said she enjoyed meeting other military spouses, plans to take part in the conference next year, adding that it was well organized by ACS.

"They left no stone unturned. It was very well put together. They did a good job."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16