Fort Sill spouses display true grit
May 24, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- These spouses heard the talk, now they've walked the walk. That walk included a rope bridge and a lot of climbing as 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery hosted its first Jane Wayne Days May 16-17.
"Most of these wives are drill sergeants' wives or other cadre members' wives and we just want to show them what their husbands are doing on a daily basis," said Capt. Paul Felming. "They have a better understanding when their spouses say 'today we're taking the privates out to Treadwell Tower, it's not just some place, some arbitrary thing. They know that this is what they're doing."
Although the spouses were not allowed to shoot live rounds, they still got to experience plenty of action. During their two days as "privates" they conquered Treadwell Tower, fired the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, lobbed simulated hand grenades, fired blanks on the U.S. Weapons range, and finished with the Combat Conditioning Course. In between the soldiering they dined on hearty MREs.
"We're cramming five days of events into two days," said 1st Lt. Anthony Lawrence.
One spouse had been through the training before, but said brushing off the cobwebs was a thrill.
"I was a little nervous to go over the top, but then once on the wall I was fine. It's just that initial over the edge finding your footing," said Ericka Neep.
She said she enjoyed this experience a lot more than basic training because of the lack of yelling from the drill sergeants. Neep also said she had to give some pep talks to the other spouses, but once they got over their fear of heights, or ropes, or falling, whatever the case was, many of the women climbed back up just to go back down.
"It was fabulous, exciting. I did it twice, for the adrenaline," said Terra Talley after her second descent down Treadwell Tower.
She said from now on when her husband says he is taking his Soldiers through one of the steps of Basic Combat Training she will reminisce on this adventure.
"It's strenuous, but this makes you respect the [Soldiers] even more because you realize what they go through," said Talley.
Jeannie Lawrence now has a message for one basic trainee in particular - her son. With a father who was a former drill sergeant and now cadre of a BCT unit and a mother who was able to do a lot of the same physical activities, she said her son will have a lot to prove when he heads to Fort Jackson, S.C.
"He better outdo me in basic," she jokingly said.
Although there were a few sounds of resistance during the exercise, the spouses completed Treadwell Tower and went onto their other objectives happily. For the drill sergeants that was somewhat of a disappointment. One said they'd had grown men cry in basic training and the spouses didn't even shed a tear.