By Lt. Maggie CharbonneauMay 12, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - When you're a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, it can be a little difficult to explain to your spouse just how intense the average day is. Spouses in the 407th Brigade Support Battalion don't have to worry about being kept in the dark, though - they've been through it themselves, thanks to an event called "Spouses Day."
The event, which was held for the first time May 5, provided an opportunity for the unit spouses to experience a typical work day for a paratrooper. The event, which is expected to become an annual tradition, was organized by the Family Readiness Group and hosted by the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Matthew P. Shatzkin.
The spouses met at 6:30 in the morning to begin the day with Physical Training. In this case, the PT program was an introduction to the intense, total-body work out known as Cross Fit, which left the spouses sweating and gasping for air. Exercise was followed by breakfast and a gracious welcome from the 407th's Chaplain, Cpt. David Johnston.
Next, the spouses had the opportunity to face their fears at the Advanced Airborne School. The wives suited up in a training parachute and exited the 34 foot towers. While not quite the rush of jumping from a high performance aircraft in flight, the 34 foot towers allowed the spouses to experience the fun of a rigorous jumpmaster pre-inspection, face their fear of heights, and get a small taste of airborne operations as they hurled themselves out the tower door. When it was all over, the spouses agreed that the experience was eye-opening.
"It was fun. It was different. I would love to do it again. It gave me a better understanding of what they [paratroopers] go through," said Mrs. Heidi Newell, an A company spouse.