'Bayonet Spouse' learns challenges of Soldier life
November 28, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Working together, the squad-sized element fought through adversity and moved its equipment across treacherous obstacles.
The squad then moved on to firing semiautomatic and automatic rifles and machine guns, and showed grit by performing an Army physical fitness test, or APFT.
But squad members were not Soldiers; they were spouses.
The 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, conducted "Bayonet Spouse," an all-day event that allowed husbands and wives the opportunity to conduct various engineer missions, familiarize themselves with military training, and build unit and family readiness group cohesion, here, Oct. 13.
"Everyone worked together," said Lt. Col. Darman Place, commander, 65th Eng. Bn. "All the events were about teamwork, putting your life in another person's hands when you clear a room. Whether you are the first man through the door or the last, nobody out there is more important than anyone else."
Spouses demonstrated high motivatation and dedication to every station.
Alexis McVicker, wife of Command Sgt. Maj. Harold McVicker, senior enlisted leader of the 65th Eng. Bn., is a prior Marine and was highly motivated on the first obstacle at the LRC.
"I need to know time," she said, as she was planning the next move for her team. "I got to strategize."
Throughout the day, spouses were introduced into the lives of their Soldiers.
Braving the leadership reaction course, squads worked together as a team to safely get their teammates and equipment over to the other side without falling into the quicksand below.
Following the LRC, spouses then went right into a modified APFT, consisting of one minute of push-ups and sit-ups. Spouses also made paper targets breathe a little easier at the Infantry Demo Range by shooting some holes through them with an M240B machine gun.
In addition to familiarization, squads received training on standard room clearing procedures from the 34th Eng. Company (Sapper), 65th Eng. Bn.
Maj. Shawn Patrick, training officer, 65th Eng. Bn., was very pleased with the execution of training and how positively affected the spouses were.
"It is all about the Army Family Covenant, bringing spouses and Soldiers together, better understanding what they go through on a day-to-day basis," Patrick said. "This activity helps spouses better cope with stress as we prepare for deployments."
In addition to great training and fun, spouses and their mates received a visit from Taylor Wily, an actor on the TV show "Hawaii 5-0" and a friend of Place. The actor showed his support by participating in selected activities.
Wily brought his wife and two children to the event, who joined in with one of the squads and participated in the military training.
"I think that Taylor's son had the most fun out of everyone," said Place. "He had an ear-to-ear smile the entire time."
At the end of the day, the best squad, the best shot from the M240B and the best APFT scorers received awards and certificates.
Bayonet Spouse is special to the 65th Engineers, Place explained, because few units provide families a firsthand view of a day in the life of a military man or woman.
The 65th Eng. Bn. will continue this event to help strengthen unit cohesion as the battalion prepares for deployment.