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, read more.

  • 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.

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