JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The sun hadn't risen yet from behind the Alaskan mountains on that crisp October morning.

Weapons were drawn and the troops assembled into a formation outside.

Sgt. David Grosshuesch of the 793rd Military Police Battalion called the group to attention, directed a "right face" then "forward march" and the platoon sized element began a forced road march wearing full-battle rattle. This would seem like a typical morning for a group of Soldiers, but these were Soldiers' spouses.

The 793rd Military Police Battalion held a spouse's day, called the "The Spartan Spouses Challenge" Oct. 6 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The events included a road march, weapons familiarization training, vehicle roll-over drills, a simulated range, a ride in the back of a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, or LMTV, and an obstacle course with a dozen challenges.

"The intent is to bring the spouses of our Soldiers in here, male or female, to understand what their Soldier, husband or wife does on a daily basis," Col. Steve Gabavics, commander of the 793rd MP Battalion, said. "To get to see some of the events that we participate in, to learn a little about the weapons we use, to have some fun more than anything else and get to know each other."

"One of the opportunities in having the spouses here is that I think it coalesces the unit a little bit better, because now you get to have that entire integrity of a family beyond what you would normally have with just the Soldier being involved with battalion," he said.

The spouses jumped right into the action. They got to see and experience firsthand what their Soldiers do at work. Some of the spouses found the events challenging as well.

"The most challenging thing we did today was the obstacle course," said Ruth Banks, whose husband is a captain in the 793rd MP. "It was really hard to get across, but a lot of Soldiers helped me out, so that was great. I think the whole day was challenging and I learned a lot about what my husband does at work. The rollover was very interesting and very difficult to get out of."

Some spouses compared the challenge to a kind of G.I. Jane experience.

"Live the life in your husband's shoes or boots for the day," Nicole Grosshuesch said. "The fun things we get to do is wear the ruck, getting to do roll-over drills and the obstacle course. A lot of different things we don't get to see our husbands getting to do."