Feature Article - March 2008
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Working With Warriors

Military Fitness and Recreation: Serving Those Who Serve

By Richard Zowie


What about service members who have a taste for the unusual in sports?

No worries. Bases like Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, offer paintball. Other more exotic sports include extreme dodgeball, indoor soccer, indoor and outdoor kickball, whiffleball and Ultimate Frisbee.

Another exotic sport is walleyball, which is similar to volleyball, except that it's played in an enclosed racquetball-sized court, and the ball can be played off the walls—hence the name, walleyball.

"Our walleyball courts reside at our five-star status Chaparral Fitness Center and are a very popular activity," said Jerry Stanfill, 37th Services Division chief at Lackland Air Force Base.

"We have such a demand that we have to take reservations for this activity."

Singled Out

Recreation options on base also help to serve singles during their free time, keeping them out of the trouble they might find elsewhere.

"It is postulated that if we can keep younger service members onboard during their Liberty time, they are less likely to run into trouble out in town, such as underage drinking and other activities," Shanaghan said. "It also saves the service member a lot of money, as all the equipment use in the Liberty Centers and Fitness Centers is free."

Down in Cuba, the recreation program includes Liberty, which offers many different programs for single and unaccompanied personnel from all the service branches that are assigned to Gitmo.

"Due to the isolated and remote conditions, the Liberty program is an integral part of the MWR program and directly contributes to the overall quality of life for personnel residing in the Combined Bachelor Quarters facilities," Lloyd said. "Two Liberty Recreation Centers provide Internet service, various computer games, recreational equipment and supplies for use in the recreation room, including board and table games, pool tables, ping-pong tables and free issue of indoor/outdoor recreational equipment. Our Liberty program annexes located at Camp America and Tierra Kay support sailors, soldiers, marines, airmen and coast guardsmen deployed to Guantanamo in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and detainee security operations. These annexes continue to be a highly popular quality-of-life program."