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First John and Jane Wayne held at Camp Pendleton

20 Mar 2009 | Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly 1st Marine Division

More than 120 friends and family members of the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion participated in the unit’s first John and Jane Wayne Day held at Camp Pendleton, Mar. 20.

Formerly known as Jane Wayne Day, the organizers of John and Jane Wayne Day invited not only the spouses, but also family members and friends of Marines, to spend the day with 3rd AA Bn. and experience what Marines do day-in and day-out.

“Over the years we’ve run many Jane Wayne Days for the spouses of Marines. Recently, the Marine Corps has recognized that our Marines have a larger support group that helps keep up their fighting spirit,” said Lt. Col. Charles A. McLean, II, the commanding officer of 3rd AA Bn. “To that end, we are now reaching out to the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, close friends, fiancées and even girlfriends. We need to ensure that they are part of our Family Readiness Program.”

The participants in the John and Jane Wayne Day were afforded the opportunity to perform in activities that Marines with the battalion would do in a typical week-long exercise.

“The goal today is to give participants a realistic experience with 3rd AA Bn.,” said 1st Lt. Jeffrey T. Cobb, 26, adjutant for 3rd AA Bn., from Ypsilanti, Mich. “Today gives them an idea of what their significant other does when they go on a field operation.”

The action-packed day included riding in amphibious assault vehicles and seven-ton trucks, watching AAV maneuver drills, firing the M-4 carbine and M-9 pistol, watching live-fire weapons displays and eating Meals, Ready to Eat.

The day meant more to the participants than just getting to have fun. The friends and family of 3rd AA Bn., have a better understanding of what the Marines do every day.

“This day gives me a better appreciation of what they do for eight, nine, 10 months,” said Dean F. Tedtaotao, 34, brother of Chief Warrant Officer Glen F. Tedtaotao, from Norwalk, Calif. “It also makes me feel more a part of what (Marines) do every day.”

The participants weren’t the only ones who benefitted from the John and Jane Wayne Day. For the Marines, it was also a training evolution for the crewmembers of 3rd AA Bn.

“Today lets us show them what we do every day. They just have that better understanding,” said Cpl. Andrew D. Coronado, 22, an AAV crew chief from Stockton, Calif. “Carrying these civilians is a way for us to practice for if we ever had to extract civilians with AAVs.”

The Marines of 3rd AA Bn. took many safety precautions to make the day a fun and safe adventure.

“The biggest issue (with) having civilians on a live-fire range is making sure we have enough Marines to watch and guide them,” said Sgt. Travis S. Bailey, 24, a combat marksmanship trainer with 3rd AA Bn. “Safety is not the only consideration needed to make today happen.You have the logistics of chow, transportation and personal protective equipment. Out here (on the range), knowledge is power.”

This knowledge is important so that the participants get a taste of what their Marine does.

“Ultimately this is so that the Marines’ wives (and family members)can go home today and look their loved one in the eyes and say ‘I understand,’” said Bailey.

The John and Jane Wayne Day that allowed the family and friends of 3rd AA Bn. to taste what their Marines do concluded with a barbecue for the family members, friends and Marines of 3rd AA Bn.

“After seeing the magnificent opportunity afforded to the participants today as the evolution unfolded,” said Cobb, “there is no doubt in my mind that my family will be here next year.”

1st Marine Division