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Spouses assemble a water filtration system during a J. Wayne day event at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 23. The all-day event required participants to complete several difficult tasks related to the Marine Corps engineer mission. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Juan Madrigal/Released)

Photo by Pfc. Juan Madrigal

Engineer school shows spouses Marine day-to-day

30 Sep 2016 | Pfc. Juan Madrigal Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

It’s not every day a civilian searches for land mines, crosses a river, and shoots a pistol. J. Wayne Day changed that for Marine Corps spouses.

The Marine Corps Engineer School hosted a "J. Wayne Day" event at Court House Bay on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 23.

The event took spouses through several challenges that show them what Marine engineers do.

"This year it’s one hundred percent tactical scenario based," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Lewis Martin, the operations chief for the Marine Corps Engineer School. "They were given a mission this morning; they had to do a river crossing operation moving straight into building a command post, purifying water to bring with them to support themselves and the MAGTF(Marine Air Ground Task Force), going into breaching, mine field clearing, capturing enemy explosives and even using weapons."

The spouses crossed a river using rafts, then set up tents and generators to serve as their command post. The spouses then had to assemble a water filtration system and purify water to take with them to the next event where they cleared mines.

They also went through an obstacle course of low-crawls and hurdles. The spouses then detonated an explosive device and conducted a pistol shoot.

"Everyone is having fun," said Jenny Dibble, spouse of Capt. Wayne J. Dibble. "Jane Wayne Day definitely helps (me) understand why my husband might come home tired."

The event has been improving every year to help with that understanding.

"When we started doing these Jane Wayne days a couple years ago we started out with the basics." said Martin. "We had them do an event, get a class, go to the next event, get a class; as we progressed we got a little bit better."

J. Wayne day at the Marine Corps Engineer School has come a long way. They went from telling spouses what Marines do, to giving them a hands-on experience.

The engineer field is vast; it covers breaching, bridging, mine detection, explosives, wood frame construction, electrical distribution, water production and purification.

"There’s a lot of things you can read in books, but until you put on a flak jacket and Kevlar you don’t really know what it’s like," said Dibble.

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