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Tough Love: Yuma's VMA-311 families walk a day in their Marines' boots

By Lance Cpl. Austin Hazard | | December 3, 2009

Marine Attack Squadron 311 spouses and family members spent a day marching in the boots of their Marines during the squadron’s Jane Wayne day at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., Nov. 20, 2009.

Jane Wayne days allow family members to experience the cornerstones of Marine training and conditioning, such as physical training and weapons handling.

“The point of Jane Wayne day is to help spouses and family members understand what their Marines go through and have fun going through it themselves,” said Karen Trimble, VMA-311 family readiness officer.

The day began with the 25 family members breaking into three groups. The groups then rotated through various events including the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, weapons training, the obstacle course and movement under fire portion of the combat fitness test.

When needed, the Marines assisted their loved ones either physically or with advice and words of encouragement.

“My favorite part of the event was the (obstacle) course,” said Laticia Zuniga, VMA-311 Marine spouse. “I didn’t think I had it in me to do that, but seeing my husband and the other Marines cheer me on was great!”

After the morning events, the Marines and their family members sat down to eat lunch. While several spouses struggled to open their Meals, Ready-to-Eat, others enjoyed the simple box chows Marines receive when shooting at the rifle range.

The group then rode out to the station’s rifle range, where the family members shot M-9 pistols, M-1014 shotguns and M-16A4 rifles at targets 25 yards away.

“It was really fun,” said Jamey Guel, VMA-311 dependent. “I had a good time. Now I understand why my step-dad’s so tired all the time.”

To finish the day, the squadron provided tours of VMA-311’s hangar and the flight simulator. Several family members attempted to take off, fly and land an AV-8B Harrier in the station’s simulator. Participants were also offered a night-vision goggle class and the opportunity to try out a pair afterward.

“It was a great day,” said Lt. Col. Michael Gough, VMA-311 commanding officer. “It was all about getting active duty Marines and their family members together to share the Marine Corps experience.”

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