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Catherine Lewis firemans carries her husband, Lance Cpl. Andrew Lewis, a bulk fuel specialist with 8th Engineering Support Battalion, and Kalamazoo, Mich., native, while conducting the movement under fire portion of the Combat Fitness Test during the unit’s Jane Wayne day aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 30, 2014. Catherine performed the MUF with a time of 3:55, which is a passing score of 88 out of 100 points. Jane Wayne day is designed to show spouses a few of the jobs their Marines perform and to strengthen the bond between unit and family. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael Dye / Released)

Photo by Cpl. Michael Dye

8th ESB spouses walk a mile in their Marines’ boots

30 Sep 2014 | Lance Cpl. Michelle Reif

Spouses of the Marines with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group participated in a Jane Wayne Day Sept. 30, 2014, where they worked side-by-side with their other halves to learn what they do on a daily basis.

“We put on this annual event to establish esprit de corps with the spouses of 8th ESB and give them a working knowledge of the day-to-day life of the Marines in this battalion,” said 1st Lt. Christopher A. Haus, a combat engineer officer with Headquarters and Support Company, 8th ESB, and native of Wayne, New Jersey.

Approximately 30 spouses began their morning at 7:30 am formation with a mission and safety brief. A variety of ranks were represented, ranging from lance corporal to captain.

After the brief, the couples moved to the rifle range where some of them handled and fired a weapon for the first time. The Marines helped their spouses into protective gear and gave them a quick lesson on how to utilize the M16 A4 service rifle. While nervous at first, many of the spouses enjoyed shooting the weapons.

“Shooting was definitely my favorite part of the day,” said Kathia M. Purcell, the wife of Master Sgt. Heriberto Purcell and native of Puerto Rico. Master Sgt. Purcell is the operations chief of Company B, 8th ESB.

After the live-fire range, the group took a bus out to a field training area where they experienced the flavors of the Meal Ready to Eat, which Marines eat almost exclusively while they are deployed.

Following lunch, the Marines taught their spouses about some of the heavy equipment their battalion uses while others got the chance to operate some of the equipment for themselves. One wife was amazed at how heavy the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team’s bomb disposal suit was after she donned the gear. Others learned about the process of detecting improvised explosive devices and the special tools Marines use to find them.

The final events of the day consisted of the spouses performing the maneuver under fire portion of the combat fitness test, and learning some Marine Corps Martial Arts techniques. The CFT is a physically demanding even involving sprints with two 30-pound ammunition cans and carrying another person on your back to simulate ammunition re-supply and casualty evacuation.

The spouses rose to the challenge and didn’t hesitate to throw their husbands across their backs and carry them to the finish line. For some, the experience brought on a new level of respect for the daily toils of a Marine.

“Being a Marine is a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Purcell. “I knew it was hard but now I don’t take it for granted.”

“I’m going to be more lenient on him when he says he’s tired,” said Catherine Lewis, the wife of Lance Cpl. Andrew Lewis, a bulk fuel Marine for 8th ESB, originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Marine units conduct Jane Wayne days and other family-related events in order to strengthen the bond between the unit and its families. The Marine Corps recognizes the importance of a Marine’s family support structure for deployments and everyday life. An event like this demonstrates that recognition for the families.

“This gives a little bit of confidence to spouses, and makes sure that they feel welcomed into a battalion and into a unit,” said Haus. “It also gives them that confidence in the Marine to the left and right of their spouse that they know they will take care of them when they are away from home.”


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