Drill sergeant spouses get taste of husbands' job
Serena Finnick, left, and Christine McGraw, both spouses of drill sergeants, familiarize themselves with the M249 before shooting live fire rounds during the Drill Sergeant and Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant Spouses' Seminar, at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Oct. 15.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- (Oct. 21, 2010) Twenty "G.I. Janes" donned ACU gear and boarded a cattle car for what would be the Fall 2010 Drill Sergeant and Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant Spouses' Seminar.

Beginning, Friday, with a daylong classroom session, the drill sergeant and AIT platoon sergeant spouses readied themselves to experience a day in the life of their
Soldier.

"I really appreciate your support ... what you do is a tremendously complex job," Maj. Gen. David Quantock, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, said to the participants.

Nadine Albrecht, Army Community Service Volunteer Program manager, kicked off the seminar by conducting an icebreaker and giving a brief presentation of what they could expect during the two days of activities.

"This military lifestyle is diverse. Hopefully with the seminar, we can provide you with more tools to add to your toolbox so you can go out and help yourself and others," she said.

Subsequently, Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Guidry, drill sergeant for the 787th Military Police Battalion, briefed the spouses on the expectations and impact of their mission as family members. According to Guidry, the role of a drill sergeant or AIT platoon sergeant spouse is an important and demanding one, so the seminar served to equip, identify and prepare the spouses to be active, productive and proactive as they support their Soldier.

"Drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants are the most important population because without them, there is no training," said Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Corbly Elsbury, to the spouses. "You have put a lot of stock in what your Soldier does. I am what I am because of drill sergeants."

The second day of the seminar presented the spouses with numerous challenges, as they conducted live fire exercises at Range 18 with the M249 and M240B, and executed the physical endurance course. Spouses also ate lunch at the 795th MP Battalion dining facility, toured barracks and listened to subject-matter experts explain their role as drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants.

"I came today so I could relate more to my husband. I wanted to see what he does for myself and experience it. He can now tell me what he has going on day-to-day," said Melinda Albers, spouse of a drill sergeant from the 94th Engineer Battalion.

The event's activities came to a close with a panel of discussion, allowing spouses to ask any questions and discuss what they go through on a daily basis.

"It was fun to shoot guns and act a fool. And it's so important to enjoy the time you can have together (with your Soldier)," said Rebecca Aho, spouse of a drill sergeant from the 35th Engineer Battalion.

(Editor's note: Emily Athens is a photojournalist with the Fort Leonard Wood newspaper, the GUIDON.)

Page last updated Thu October 21st, 2010 at 12:22