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172nd Infantry Brigade spouse Sara Bell takes aim during a paint ball battle that was part of the brigade "Spouses' Shoot" at Grafenwoehr Training Area on Wednesday.

172nd Infantry Brigade spouse Sara Bell takes aim during a paint ball battle that was part of the brigade "Spouses' Shoot" at Grafenwoehr Training Area on Wednesday. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Orange paint splattered on trees inside Grafenwöhr Training Area on Wednesday as dozens of 172nd Infantry Brigade spouses got a taste of the sort of military training their husbands experience regularly.

The soldiers’ wives were taking part in a "Spouses’ Shoot," designed to boost their morale while their husbands are deployed on a year-long mission to Iraq.

In addition to paintball, the spouses practiced target shooting on a virtual reality range, road marched around Camp Aachen and carried weights on a litter in four-woman teams.

Wendy Jagodzinski, whose husband is attached to the brigade as an air liaison officer, said military spouses living overseas have a tougher job than those in the States.

"Here in Europe, you live in a different community with a different language. It is harder to go out and meet your neighbors. It’s harder to find a job," said the young mother as she prepared for the road march holding an M-4 rifle. Jagodzinski said her husband expects to deploy next month.

Lt. Col. Eric Stetson, the rear detachment commander, said some of the spouses may have done similar events in the past since many members of the brigade are on their third or fourth deployment.

"An event like this is designed to show them that we care, bring them together to have some fun and allow them to have something to share with their spouses downrange," he said. "It hopefully builds morale in both locations."

The brigade is hosting a similar event, the Wee EIB (Expert Infantryman’s Badge) for children of 172nd Troops on Saturday, he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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