• Treadwell Tower cadre instructs Terra Talley to wave her left hand to show that her right is acting as a break mechanism as she climbs down May 16.The big smile on her face was voluntary. Talley was one of many who learned what their spouses in 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery train Soldiers to do during the unit's first Jane Wayne Days.

    Jane Wayne Days

    Treadwell Tower cadre instructs Terra Talley to wave her left hand to show that her right is acting as a break mechanism as she climbs down May 16.The big smile on her face was voluntary. Talley was one of many who learned what their spouses in 1st...

  • Gretchen Jones surfs Treadwell Tower's rope bridge by jumping up and down before she rappelled down the 80-foot structure May 16.

    Riding the wave

    Gretchen Jones surfs Treadwell Tower's rope bridge by jumping up and down before she rappelled down the 80-foot structure May 16.

  • Members of 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery and their spouses stand and watch a demonstration of how to properly rappel down Treadwell Tower May 16 for the unit's first Jane Wayne Days.

    Treadwell Tower

    Members of 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery and their spouses stand and watch a demonstration of how to properly rappel down Treadwell Tower May 16 for the unit's first Jane Wayne Days.

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.

Page last updated Thu May 24th, 2012 at 15:04