Donning parachutes, running through the woods with a rifle, and low crawling through mud is not what most wives do on a normal Wednesday.
However, more than 30 paratroopers’ wives did that and more on May 23, as part of G.I. Jane Day, a Family readiness group event held by 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, designed to give the women a taste of what their husbands do on a day-to-day basis.
The 2nd Bn., 325 AIR “White Falcon Ladies” formed up at 9 a.m. for roll call. At their first station, the women performed physical fitness training, consisting of pushups, sit-ups, squats, flutter kicks, five-pound ammo can run, and dragging a litter weighed down with a full water can.
When their training was complete, they were marched to their second station where rows of parachutes awaited them. Jumpmasters gave a class covering the correct way to don the parachute before the women formed pairs to try them on. Several commented on how surprisingly heavy the parachute was and how uncomfortable it is to wear. While some opted to remove their parachutes, several kept theirs on as they moved on to sustained airborne training.
The women lined up in the mock-doors, which simulate the inside of a C-130 aircraft.
Jumpmasters gave their commands and showed them how to properly hook their static lines up to the cables, check their equipment, and exit the aircraft.
The ladies’ marching skills improved as they moved to their third station.
Jenny King, wife of Staff Sgt. Chris King, Company D, 2nd Bn., 325 AIR, even called a cadence she created specifically for the event, keeping the women motivated as they marched in the mid-day heat. At this station, they received classes covering the duties and equipment used by members of the White Falcons, followed by lunch consisting of meals ready-to-eat. Although they didn’t expect to enjoy their soldierly meal, the consensus was that MREs aren’t as unpalatable as their husbands claim they are.
At this point, the women were issued Army combat uniforms, helmets and M4 rifles for a react to contact lane. Here, they were given blank ammunition and led into the wood line by infantrymen. Divided into two teams, the squad moved through the brush until they made contact with their enemy. One team laid suppressive fire as the other moved to the left to flank their foe. The ladies successfully took down all four men without any casualties of their own.
After turning in their weapons, they moved on to the site of a downed vehicle. They were divided into teams of four and rolled a humvee tire down a dirt path and through the mud to the vehicle, where they replaced the bad tire and raced back to the starting point.
As they moved on to the final station, an obstacle course, clouds blocked the sun and opened up to a downpour. Despite the weather, the women enthusiastically scaled walls, waded through mud and crawled under barbed wire.
“We tried to give them a variety of events that would best show a wide range of what paratroopers do,” said Capt. Alan Wilson, plans officer for Headquarters Company, 2nd Bn., 325 AIR.
Although they were cold, wet and tired, at the end of the day the White Falcon Ladies gave nothing but good feedback on the event.
“It’s one thing for someone to tell you what they do, and it’s another to do it yourself,” said Minerva El-Hage, wife of Staff Sgt. Kevin Lidstone, Company D, 2nd Bn., 325 AIR. “I would recommend this event to other wives and I will definitely do it again.”