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Military Families Go Camping to See What Army Life is Like

The British Army has sponsored a "take your spouse to work day," in hopes of keeping morale up among Army families. Nineteen women and 34 children joined up for a camping trip filled with activities mirroring the life of members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exercise was intended to teach Army WHAGS (Wives Husbands and Girlfriends) what their loved ones go through in the field.

In today's BBC, one Army wife participant shared what she learned.

  • On the drills: RSM Williams calls Sergeant Keith Heslop to take us through basic drill. The usual comedy routines ensue, but it's a surprisingly stark lesson in how disciplined and tiring drill is.
  • On army food: To eat we have a 24-hour ration pack, including silver pouches with labels such as "nonmeat mini burger and beans" and two Yorkie bars emblazoned with "not for civvies." There is also a "brew pack" of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. We quickly become obsessed with food — when you don't have a lot, it means a lot.

To see what she has to say about the harsh conditions, and her comrades,


  • On the harsh conditions: It's not just the lack of sleep, or days without washing, that are hard. Having basics such as light and heat taken away is disabling and disorientating. I now understand there is a real difference between what I think you need to survive and what you really need to survive.
  • On getting along with her fellow recruits: I also realize there are difficult choices to be made between sharing kit to keep my comrades onside, and having enough to keep myself fed and comfortable. Not to mention how liberating it is to be dirty. But this exercise also reminds me that our Army is tough, organized, disciplined, and chivalrous. I suppose I always knew this, but it's only now that I really understand why it is like this.


Join The Conversation
Meike Meike 8 years
I was in Army ROTC for a year. NOT EASY! FTXs suck especially in the cold winters... At one point, I did want to join the military as an officer because my father had served and I like the community I grew up with. No one is excessively gung-ho as the media paints them to be. No one wants to be fighting in a war. Many who join the military go for several other reasons - money for education, traveling overseas (space available flights, hehe), obtaining American citizenship, free health care, free housing, standardized pay and cost of living allowance (COLA), a tangible promotion and progression ladder (E-1 through E-9, O-1 through o-11), etc. War is really the last thing most think of. I guess many don't realize that the military is simply a tool of U.S. government action. They send orders and it gets done without question. So, although my dad was sent to the first gulf war to aid Kuwait, it isn't the sole reason they were sent. Many active duty and their families may believe in their causes for peace and liberation but the government has its ulterior motives.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
I think that's cool -- they have this program at Camp Pen -- in San Diego (Oceanside)-- I was thinking about signing up with some friends -- it's the ULTIMATE obstacle course BABY!! (And MEN!!!!! :drool:)
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
unless you just like the points ;) i bet you have your eye on a root beer float right??? jk
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
What cause? There is an article about humanitarian aid workers just after this one... sooo....
stephley stephley 8 years
Maybe Haus, but it's all for the cause.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Isn't that what a troll does Steph?
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Haha, well you did a good job :). I honestly didn't have much to say about the story, but your comment was more interesting.
stephley stephley 8 years
Funny - no one commented for hours. I knew exactly what to say to attract a little attention to the neglected story.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
We could always ask John Murtha what he thinks...
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Mich don't be silly! Everyone knows the military is made of up on blood thirsy trained killers who live to plunder and defile civilizations. Don't you watch MSNBC?? ;)
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Steph, I think a lot of people believe that the Army is working for peace.
stephley stephley 8 years
It's an interesting story, but I'd rather the world focus at least as much attention on people who dedicate their lives to working for peace.
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