Spouses get a taste of combat on GI Jane Day
Stars and Stripes March 1, 2008
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The spouses of Company A were camo-clad and ready for combat, even if their self-styled modifications to the gear weren’t up to Army standards.
“We have some serious uniform violations here,” observed Command Sgt. Maj. Dwight Dooley of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment.
“Is that stroller combat ready?” asked Lt. Col. Brian Eifler, the battalion commander. “They’ve got to rig that thing up for combat.”
It was GI Jane Day for the Company A wives of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, who spent Thursday experiencing firsthand what a day at the office means for their soldier husbands.
From paint-gun drills replicating close-quarter combat to target practice with M-16s and a weapons-qualification exam, the spouses received a crash course.
“They’re getting a little taste of what soldiers go through,” said Eifler, who will be leading his unit into Iraq this spring when the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division deploys for a third tour.
The day started with a demonstration in hand-to-hand combat techniques. Gone are the days when soldiers were trained in “Karate Kid” style chops and kicks, 1st Sgt. Michael Morton explained to the group. Now, soldiers learn to inflict damage by grappling around, arms and legs locked in contorted positions.
After talking the women through a demonstration of various jujitsu techniques, Morton faced his audience.
“Any volunteers?” Morton asked.
One spouse couldn’t be cajoled into a rumble in the mud.
“You can’t sit on me, I’m pregnant,” she said.
A couple of others stepped forward, though.
“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” said Amanda Stern after getting tangled up with practice partner Brenda Grandia.
Following the combatives, the spouses donned helmets and bullet-resistant gear for a weighted down march to the Baumholder shooting range, where they manned M-16s and tested their aim.
“I’ve definitely got a better appreciation of what he (my husband) goes through,” said Allyson Schreiber after firing her weapon.
During the combat-simulation drill, Schreiber and the group of wives fired off their weapons, trying to knock down moving targets on the theater-size video screen.
But the crackle of return fire was faster, and the enemy kept charging. “You got overrun each time,” Morton told the group.
Though they may have been overrun, the soldiers said they were impressed with the effort.
“She did a good job,” said Sgt. Cory Schreiber.