Under a gray, cloudy sky with temperatures reaching 90 degrees, Family members of the 16th Military Police Brigade participated in day three of “One of a Kind Week” held Aug. 22 at Fort Bragg.
“Day three of ‘Family Week’ started off at the obstacle course; we were given a safety brief, a demonstration and broken into groups of three,” said Heejin Castillo, wife of Spc. Jean Pierre Castillo, a light wheel mechanic with the 118th MP Company, 503rd MP Battalion (Airborne), 16th MP Bde.
Beads of sweat began to drip and form wet spots from the sun’s beaming rays on their soon to be muddy clothing. It had rained the night before. It was just 9 a.m. The look of anticipation and excitement covered their faces as they looked toward the obstacle course at Range 85. Who would come out victorious, the obstacle course or the Family members?
“Then, it was our turn to complete the obstacle course,” said Castillo.
The course did its best to intimidate the Family members of the 16th Military Police Brigade.
“Overall, I was surprised that I was able to complete the obstacle course, especially the low-crawl due to my height, said Castillo. “This was my first time doing an obstacle course.”
“The most memorable and best experience of this week so far was the obstacle course because I completed it as a 53-year-old woman,” said Lorie Bisek, mother of Staff Sgt. Nicholas Bisek, a Soldier with the 21st MP Co. (Airborne), 503rd MP Bn.
As the day progressed, the Family members finished the obstacle course and went on to the next event of the day — the Engagement Skills Trainer. The EST provided weapon awareness for the Family members and helped them become comfortable with handling an M4 assault rifle.
“I think the EST provided a sense of familiarity with the weapon,” said Julie McRee, the Family Readiness Group advisor and wife of Col. Chad McRee, commander of the 16th MP Bde.
“We were able to practice with the weapon before going to the live-fire rifle range and that made me feel a little bit more comfortable with actual live ammunition.”
“My husband kept telling me that the actual weapon is a lot lighter than the one at the EST, but the EST helped me to learn the logistics of the weapon,” said Castillo.
After all of the training on the EST, Family members were bused to Range 31 to practice skills learned.
The tent setup by the Soldiers of the 16th MP Bde. helped shield some of the warmth from the unrelenting heat as Family members engaged their targets.
“This was the first time I ever shot a weapon, and it was amazing,” said Bisek. “My biggest challenge was handling the rifle, but the Soldiers on the range ensured our safety.”
As all of the Family members reloaded the bus, the range that once bustled with activity seemed untouched. This day provided a glimpse into the lives of Army Soldiers, specifically Soldiers of the 16th MP Bde.
“The purpose of One of a Kind Week is to bring the family members closer to their Soldiers and the military; it’s a morale booster,” said McRee.
“I have a newfound respect for my husband and what he does on a daily basis,” said Castillo. “I appreciate him a lot more.”