Photo Information

Karen Venema, a military spouse and native of Visalia, Calif., practices her M4 rifle technique during the II Marine Headquarters Group spouses event titled “In Their Boots,” more commonly known as Jane Wayne Day, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., April, 17, 2015. The event included hands-on practice at the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer and Combat Convoy Simulators, and aims to build cohesion and shed light on military training within the II MHG families. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Fatmeh Saad/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Fatmeh Saad

In Their Boots: II MHG spouses, FRO host Jane Wayne Day

28 Apr 2015 | Lance Cpl. Fatmeh Saad II MEF Headquarters Group

With lunches packed and safety gear in tow, military spouses filed into formation on the front lawn of the II Marine Headquarters Group building aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 17, 2015.

The II MHG command partnered with the Family Readiness Office to plan the event titled “In Their Boots,” more commonly known as Jane Wayne Day. Spouses were eager to participate in the day’s scheduled activities and were surprised to discover that even simple tasks, such as getting into formation, were more challenging than they expected.

“We do family readiness events every quarter,” said Michael Cline, the family readiness officer with II MHG. “The whole idea behind these events is to build camaraderie between our families and give them a better understanding of the amount of training our Marines and sailors actually go through.”

With the help of volunteer spouses, the participants were ready to board the bus at approximately 9:20 a.m. to depart. First on the schedule of events was a trip to the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, or ISMT, where spouses will get hands-on, three-dimensional simulation training with commonly military-used weapons systems.

Following the simulation, the group enjoyed Meals, Ready-to-Eat for lunch while Col. Thomas Gordon, the commanding officer of II MHG, addressed the spouses on the importance of volunteering within the military community.

The purpose of these events is not only to build cohesion, but to help relay information to the families from the command, Gordon said.

Gordon nicknamed the volunteers Spartan Spouses after the legend of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan warriors.

“Allegedly, King Leonidas picked the 300 [warriors] not on their warrior prowess, but on the stoic resolves of their wives,” Gordon said. “We need to identify those Spartan spouses within our organization who will be that example for other family members should we be called upon to deploy.”

The spouses finished the day at the Combat Convoy Simulator, which includes six simulated convoy vehicles, paired together in an immersive setting in which participants work together to cover a variety of terrain and simulated threats.

The day’s activities, which were made possible with the help of the Spartan Spouses, helped participants gain a better understanding of the obstacles and dangers service members face while on deployment.

“Bottom line is, I have one objective and one objective only,” Gordon said. “And that’s to create the most cohesive, combat-ready unit we can. I can’t do that without the support of the spouses or the families.”