Marines

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Gunnery Sgt. Harelo Keel helps his wife, Tomoko, walk across a bridge constructed by students during Marine Corps Engineer School and the Coast Guard Special Missions Training Center's "In Their Boots Day."

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

Spouses step ‘In Their Boots’ to see the other side

20 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

Military spouses spent a day looking at life from their service members perspective during Marine Corps Engineer School and the Coast Guard Special Missions Training Center’s “In Their Boots Day” at Courthouse Bay aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 20

“In Their Boots Day” illustrated military life in a way words cannot, giving military spouses a clearer understanding of the world their service member works in.

Wearing flaks and Kevlars, spouses rode in Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to sites throughout Courthouse Bay to view various demonstrations, highlighting aspects of military life for Marine engineers and Camp Lejeune’s Coast Guardsmen.

Marines demonstrated how robots are used to assist in disarming explosives. They viewed some of the equipment and weapons used to clear danger zones such as mine fields and saw demonstrations showing explosives and water purification.

“It was a great learning experience,” said Swina Bethea, a military spouse with Marine Corps Engineer School.

Lunch also provided a taste of the field with Meals Ready to Eat, which spouses learned to cook with tips from event organizers and their service members. 

“It gives spouses a chance to try out things,” said Laura Garcia, Family Readiness Officer with Marine Corps Engineer School. “They can see a side of their spouse’s world. It’s important for spouses to understand what the other does during the day.”

An understanding of the other’s duties can help spouses support their service member, said Capt. Amy Cocanour, the executive officer of the Coast Guard’s Special Missions Training Center.

The event, and other events like it, have given Bethea a good idea of her husband’s role at Marine Corps Engineer School and makes it easier for her to explain what he does to others.

“It helps (spouses) get a personal connection to what their partners do,” said Bethea. “I don’t have to just say he’s a Marine or say his (job title), I can explain what he does.”
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