The first Saturday in June SOI-E held am "In Their Boots Day" or what was formerly known as a "Jane Wayne Day". I've always wanted to go to one of these and I was pretty excited when I heard I finally would be able to go to one! Ryan's old unit held one when we first moved to North Carolina but we didn't hear about it until it was too late and I was unable to attend. Even though Ryan was mid cycle he was told he should be able to join me, so I signed up. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it is basically like "Take Your Child to Work Day" but for military spouses and children... except maybe a little more geared towards spouses for the most part as you do have to be 18 to go to the rifle range.
So that is how I found myself getting up earlier on a Saturday morning than I do normally on work days when I open! By 7am I was on base signed in and ready to go. Ryan's friend Mark, also a Combat Instructor, had his girlfriend Kayla sign up as well and I was thankful for a familiar face.... especially since Ryan got held up at work and ended up not able to meet up with me. I thanked Mark and Kayla profusely for letting me be their third wheel, and to Mark for taking so many pictures and carrying our bags for us!
Our first stop was the rifle range. My husband has talked about rifle ranges since our dating days so I was pretty stoked to be able to finally do one. They had everything set up for us and we basically just had to lie there and shoot!
We were given flak jackets and kevlar as well as ear and eye pro... I think we did pretty well but Ryan made fun of me when he saw the picture. Apparently my kevlar was crooked. We had to wear long sleeved shirts, pants and closed shoes for the range so I was glad it was done early in the morning before the day got too hot. I know my husband will be on the range for hours and come home hot, sweaty and exhausted with interesting tan lines, so our one hour in the early morning suited me just fine.
We were only given fifteen rounds and I was proud of myself for hitting targets on the 50, 250 and 500 yard line! If I had know the "score" they were tracking was just based on hitting the targets in general versus the distance I probably would have stuck with the closer one! :P I won't share my score but I will say that I hit three on the 500 yard line!
After the range we took the bus back to base and got to try all the other activities, including a night vision goggle obstacle course and the ISMIT. The ISMIT is basically a simulator that they do rather than a live fire range. Above I am using the grenade launcher and below the 50 cal. machine gun. The grenade launcher was a ton of fun and the whole thing shook back and forth, it was crazy powerful! The .50 cal rattled me around a bit too!
We also got decked out again to ride in a Light Armored Vehicle, or LAV, which made my husband jealous as he even said he's never gotten to ride in one!
That LAV went fast too! Kayla and I were standing in the back (we decided to be good grown ups and let the ten year old kid take the gun turret) and we had to hold on to keep from falling off our perches as we flew around the turns!
They also landed some helicopters in a nearby field that we were allowed to get on and explore.
I got to sit in a Huey! It was a tight squeeze, not gonna lie. No wonder they have height restrictions for pilots! When we explored the CH 53-E I nearly wiped out three different times since the floor was slick with hydraulic fluid and my sneakers have basically no grip. The crew at least got a good laugh out of me, happy to help!
|"Get to the choppa!"|
I had a wonderful time and I am so thankful SOI-E went out of their way to plan such a fun event for the families. We all received t-shirts, SOI-E canvas bags, and Jane Wayne day dog tags too. I had a blast and even though I was bummed Ryan couldn't make it I was grateful Kayla and Mark kept me company. If you ever get the opportunity to attend an "In Their Boots Day" go for it!!