By Lesley Atkinson, Fort Lee Public Affairs
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FORT LEE, Va. – Spouses of the 832nd Ordnance Battalion headed to work along sides of their loved ones Friday to get a feel of the organization’s mission and learn what their Soldiers sponsors do on a daily basis while training initial entry troops.
The day consisted of physical readiness and resiliency training, an explosive ordnance disposal suit demonstration, robotics, artillery firing and a meal in the Samuel Sharpe dining facility.
“I was nervous about attending the PT session early in the morning, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” said Sarah Koutalidis.
The spouses tried on a 65-pound EOD bomb suit with a 13-pound helmet and walked the hallways and a classroom of the Rose Hall facility. They were able to maneuver Talon robots, grabbing objects and moving them on a outdoor obstacle course. In addition, they received training on how to ignite a Howitzer cannon and then were allowed to fire-off a blank round.
“It’s the first time we have done something like this,” said Lt. Col. Tim Gallagher, 832nd Ord. Bn. commander. “In an environment like this, with so many restrictions with Soldiers and their training, this showed them this is not as mystical and closed curtain as people had thought. This really is the training we are teaching every single day. That is why today is so great – to bring the spouses in and give them the appreciation of what our mission is.”
“Today is awesome and exactly what I wanted to see,” Gallagher continued. “If the most important part of the Army is the family, then doing something like this brings us all closer together. The unit should be one giant family.”
Gallagher said he wants to try to do a spouse day quarterly. It may not always be the same events, but visiting different parts of the Ordnance School. For example spouses could visit recovery and canon maintenance, in case the spouses return they can get a different appreciation for the mission of the Ordnance Corps.
“I think it is a good experience for them to come out and see what we do on a daily basis,” said Sgt. 1st Class Roderick Williams. “My wife Enkesha was excited to come with me and to see a day in a life of a Soldier in training. This is the first time in 15 years I have seen this, and it is very exciting.”
Sgt. 1st Class Paul Mendez’s wife, Bonnie said “To be here from the start of their day to the end was a great experience. We have been married for 19 years, and this is the first time I have ever been able to experience this with him. Not only for him, but it is a great way for us to meet other spouses within the unit. I really think this was great for the families, and I look forward to doing this again.”