Military spouse 1st. Lt. Jess Tobergte practices inert mine detection April 17, one of the many activities planned for the annual spouse’s day event during Engineer Regimental Week at Fort Leonard Wood. Tobergte is stationed in Vicenza, Italy, but came to watch her husband compete in the Best Sapper Competition. U.S. Army photo by Ryan Thompson/Released

By Ryan Thompson
Public Affairs Office

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (April 26, 2018) — The 35th Engineer Battalion hosted the annual Engineer Spouse’s Day April 17 in conjunction with Engineer Regimental Week. The event, open to all military spouses, featured a competitive team-building experience that gave participants a closer look into the daily lives of engineer Soldiers.

Spouses participated in events that included informational lanes on engineer vehicles, picket pounding, inert mine detection, door breaching with manual tools, an urban operations paintball exercise and rappelling.

Capt. Joe Maxwell, 35th Engineer Battalion operations officer in charge and one of the event organizers, said it was important for the spouses to participate in the event.

“We think that having the spouses come out here and experience these activities gives them a better idea of what their Soldier may be doing on a day-to-day basis. It also gives them the opportunity to learn what engineers do for the Army,” he said.

For some participants, this insight enabled better communication with their spouse.

“It helps with communication. When our husbands come home and tell us what they did, we might not know what that is, it doesn’t mean anything. If we come out here and do this then we can say, ‘I did that,’” military spouse Upris Powelson said.

Military spouse and chemical officer 1st Lt. Jess Tobergte echoed this sentiment.

“I think it’s great to understand what your spouse is doing throughout the day so we don’t get mad when they come home late. It’s great to understand what’s going on so you can have more meaningful conversations when they do come home,” she said.

For Capt. Steven McGunegle, spouse and 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment commander, the event was about building relationships and meeting new people.

“I came out to be part of the engineer community. It helps strengthen the team and build better bonds between people,” McGunegle said.

He added, “there are people that I have seen repeatedly (at Fort Leonard Wood) but I have never really talked to them. It’s a great chance to get together and start building stronger relationships with some of the other people on post.”

Engineer Spouses Day was also an opportunity for spouses to learn about what the Army family has to offer.

“We also use this day to bring in the Ready and Resilience Center. We not only want the spouses to know that they are a support center for their Soldier, but we also want them to know that the Fort Leonard Wood community is here as a support system for the spouse,” Maxwell said.