By Maj. Wayne MarottoMarch 3, 2008
BAUMHOLDER, Germany (Army News Service, March 3, 2008) -- Alpha Company, 1-6th Infantry had a rash of officer and NCO impersonators, replete with gross uniform violations, in their training area Feb. 28.
It was all for a good cause, though, and the military police did not have to be summoned to make arrests.
The impersonators were there for Alpha Company's "GI Jane Day." More than 20 spouses of Soldiers in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division company donned their husbands' ACUs, complete with body armor and Kevlar helmets, for the event.
"The intent of GI Jane Day was to show the wives what their husbands do while on the job," said 1st Sgt. Michael Morton, who acted as 'drill sergeant' for the day by getting the spouses from one training area to another.
Brenda Grandia said she participated in GI Jane Day, "just to get a chance to see what my husband does while he is at work."
Grandia and fellow spouse Amanda Stern paired off during the first training block -- Army combatives.
Under Morton's watchful eye, Grandia and Stern were coached on several self-defense moves and holds that resulted in both women at times laying flat on their backs on the cold, damp ground.
"It was a lot harder (physically) than it looks," said Stern after grappling with Grandia. "You get dirty, too."
Still, both agreed it was worth participating in the training, knowing that this type of instruction will benefit their husbands as they prepare for their deployment to Iraq. The 2nd BCT is scheduled to deploy in the coming months.
After the training ended, Morton formed the group into two lines and road-marched them a quarter-mile to the indoor shooting range, chanting Army cadence calls along the way.
There they were treated to the biggest video war-gaming system they had ever experienced. Amidst a cacophony of attacking planes, motorized tracked vehicles, indirect artillery fire and swarming enemy Soldiers that at times created the sensation the room was moving, the spouses calmly and methodically fired their computer-connected M-4 rifles and stopped the attacking horde on the screen.
"It was fun but hard, because of the Kevlar helmet, which made it hard to see. But I liked it," said Sierra Linton, whose husband is a lieutenant and rifle platoon leader in A Company.
The ear-splitting sound of the .50-caliber machine gun firing blank rounds began the last training block of GI Jane Day.
Participants were also given instruction on weapons familiarization and fired blank rounds with the M240 machine gun and Squad Automatic weapon, conducted close-quarters combat maneuvers, and mounted and dismounted a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
Lunch prepared and served by their husbands concluded the day.
"It was fun, because I have never done this before," said Rhea Lay. "I understand why my husband comes home tired."
(Maj. Wayne Marotto serves as the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Public Affairs Officer.)