Thunderbolt families enjoy Jane Wayne Day

3 Apr 2009 | Sgt. Gina C. Rindt

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, also known as the Thunderbolts, held their Jane Wayne Day Monday. The day was designed to give Thunderbolt families a glimpse of life as a Marine. 

At the beginning of the day, all participants met in the ready room for a welcome aboard brief by the commanding officers’ wife, Amy Ponte.

Participants were able to visit many places throughout the Air Station, including the Air Traffic Control tower, which showed the Marines who help complete the mission outside the squadron. While at the ATC tower, the participants were exposed to the exercises and the daily operations of the tower and how their job plays such a large role in the success of each and every aircraft getting off the ground.

“The radar room was a very exciting part to see,” said Angela Farley, the wife of a Fightertown Marine. “It allowed us to see other parts of the Air Station and the components that help our Marines get the job done.”

After the ATC tower visit, the participants were split into two groups. The first group moved to the aircraft flight simulator, which is used for training F/A-18 pilots. It serves as a refresher for pilots who haven’t been in the cockpit for longer than 30 days and is also used to help train enlisted Marines trying to get their turn qualification, which allows them to turn an F/A-18 for maintenance issues, according to Sgt. Brian Rushing, a maintenance controller with the squadron.

“Getting the chance to experience the flight simulator and see what the pilots see when they fly, gave me a better understanding of what my husband does,” said Lisa Reedy, the wife of a Thunderbolt. “When my husband comes home and talks about his day I’ll know what he is talking about now.”

The second group received a brief from Capt. Zachary Curry, the squadron’s pilot training officer, about the different work sections in the squadron. A quick visit to some of the workspaces allowed them to see where the Marines work on a daily basis. The last part of the squadron tour was the opportunity to see one of the squadrons’ F/A-18 Hornets.

“It’s great when families come out and see what the squadron is all about,” Curry said. “I enjoy showing them what we do and what it takes to keep the aircraft in the air.”

The groups met in the ready room for a quick lunch after the static display, where they shared what they had done so far.

“The participants came together for lunch in order to interact and meet other families in the squadron,” said Monica Greer, the squadron’s family readiness officer. “I am looking forward to many more events in the future for the Thunderbolts and their families.”

The two groups swapped places afterward for the next stop on the tour. When they finished, participants loaded the bus for a trip to the flightline, where they got to see aircraft practicing their Flight Carrier Landing Practices, which is something pilots do to prepare for deployment aboard an aircraft carrier.

After the FCLP evolution they returned to the ready room for squadron t-shirts, coins, stickers and certificates presented by Greer.

“I am excited about the turnout for the event,” Ponte said. “I always look forward to getting the spouses and other family members together so they are able to understand the sacrifices the Marines make in order to get the mission accomplished.

“The families are very important in supporting their Marine,” Ponte concluded.