“This is high,” said Cecelia Taylor as she walked across a rope suspended about 50 feet in the air.
Soldiers and friends on the ground shouted advice and encouragement as she inched across the bridge. It’s not every day Jane gets to walk in John’s combat boots.
In fact, for the family members of 2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment cadre, Thursday was the first such opportunity. The unit, which recently transferred from Fort Knox, Ky., had never held a Jane Wayne Day before, said Lt. Col. Chris Willis, battalion commander.
“The wives actually asked for it,” he said. “When we had our first FRG meeting back in early January, we were talking about things we could do for each other and one of the things they asked for was the Jane Wayne Day. So we jumped on it, and we’re doing this to support them.”Eight spouses and one child signed up for the event, which included obstacles at Eagle Tower, an MRE lunch and marksmanship practice on the Engagement Skills Trainer.
“We’re trying to treat them like Soldiers in training,” Willis said. “They’re having a good time, but I think they’re getting a good flavor for what the Soldiers go through. They’re getting a little bit of a physical challenge and have to build their confidence.
“We have representatives from all (five) companies and because we’re a fairly new organization, I think this is a good team-building event. They get to know each other and there’s no better way to bond than through adversity. They’re going through a little bit of adversity today.”
At Eagle Tower, “adversity” meant rappelling down the wall, crossing a rope bridge, climbing down a cargo net and a executing a backward break fall.
“I’m terrified of heights, but I just pushed through this and told myself I can do it. I feel very, very good,” said Taylor, after conquering Eagle Tower, the culminating event of the Sand Hill obstacles.
She was first in line for the event, part of her strategy to “just push through it.”
“I definitely have a better respect for what my husband does, even what the privates have to go through,” said Taylor, whose husband is a drill sergeant with C Company. “I’m proud of myself. I’m glad I did it. I actually feel like I could probably do it again.”
Rhonda Young, FRG leader for A Company who helped organize the event, said she’d never done one before but she’d heard good things from friends who had.
“So when the wives told me it was something they wanted to do, I thought we needed to pursue it,” she said. “It’s awesome. I’m not going to lie; the ropes were hard, but I didn’t want to quit. We motivated each other, cheered each other on.”
Motivating her “battle buddies” was the best part of the day for Sharon Hanover.
A former Soldier, Hanover scaled Victory Tower at Fort Jackson, S.C., during basic training.
For her, Jane Wayne Day wasn’t as much about the physical challenges as it was the chance for camaraderie, she said.
“To be able to come out and remind yourself what your husbands do every day kind of makes you feel a part of the military family,” she said. “You’re not just a spouse; you’re the actual support.”