Spouses compete in Jane Sapper competition

| September 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photos by
Sgt. Phillis White
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

Jane Sapper participant Debbie Milhorn, wife of Col. Jeffrey Milhorn, commander, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, crosses the man-made bridge that her team made during the Leader Reaction Course.SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — When Soldiers answer the call to serve in the Army, a sacred trust is forged between the American public and the military family, as Soldiers take on the duty of protecting us all.

Their spouses help with this important responsibility by keeping the family on track and by balancing family life, military life and their careers, all while supporting and understanding the obligations of their Soldiers. 

But most spouses can never say that they have walked a mile in their Soldiers’ boots — until now.

The 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, sponsored its first Jane Sapper competition in Hawaii, recently, at various training sites located on Schofield Barracks. 

Spouses from local engineer companies experienced the life of a Soldier for a day. The spouses participated in Leader Reaction Course problems, squad battle drills in a Military Operations on Urban Terrain environment, and weapons familiarization with an M-9 pistol and M-16 rifle. 

“We were trying to accomplish two things: general team building and, for the wives, to have (a) greater appreciation and understanding of the kind of training that their husbands go though on a day-to-day basis,” said Lt. Col. Dan Koprowski, commander, 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. 

The Jane Sappers volunteered to wear gear through the obstacles and endure the normal stressors and mental and physical challenges of their 65th Eng. Bn. Soldier. 

A participant puts forth maximum effort while competing in the physical fitness test during the Jane Sapper Competition at Schofield Barracks, Aug. 14.“This type of training enhances teamwork across our companies, units and rank structure,” Koprowski said. “They are gelling as a team, and that’s one of our primary focuses for doing this. The spouses and their Soldier now have a better appreciation of what each other does.” 

Jane Sappers trained while being accompanied by their personal Soldiers for support and additional instruction. Spouses bonded with each other and their Soldiers, thus increasing overall unit morale and esprit de corps throughout the battalion.  

“The best part for me was watching my wife move around and complain about how hot it was wearing all the equipment, and wanting to take it off, but (she) couldn’t,” said Spc. Jeremy Harris, heavy equipment operator, 82nd Eng. Support Company, 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. “It was good to see her get out and interact with different spouses, and do some physical training.”

Throughout the day, the Jane Sappers were introduced to combined task force training, military operations, qualified training, modified record fire and the proper way to use all of a meal, ready to eat. 

“I truly have a better understanding and respect of what the Soldiers go through now,” said Debbie Milhorn, wife of Col. Jeffrey Milhorn, commander, 130th Eng. Bde. “I have enjoyed this training, and I recommend that all spouses (who) get a chance to do a Jane Sapper Day get involved.”

Despite not being used to the strenuous physical training and the demand that it makes on the body, all the spouses were able to finish the competition. 

“My wife told me that she was tired and that she didn’t want to do (anything) else for the rest of the day,” Harris said.

Category: News, Training

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