News: New facility in Iraq gives Soldiers place to put things into perspective
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Troth
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – The Taji Warrior Resiliency Campus held its grand opening, Sept 7, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a lecture on resilience by the director of the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.
“This is my first trip to Iraq since 1991, and I can think of no better reason to be here than for this ribbon cutting,” said Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, a Desert Storm prisoner of war. “This resilience center is exactly what CSF was intended for; it is an opportunity to make good people better.”
The goal of CSF is to increase resilience and enhance performance by developing the five dimensions of strength: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family.
“This building is made up of the five pillars that comprise Comprehensive Soldier Fitness,” said Col. Frank Muth, the commander of the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, who is in charge of the new campus. “It allows soldiers to come here and get the relaxation associated with either physical fitness or MWR facilities, but also if they are having a tough day, or they have a bad conversation with a family member they can also turn to someone for help. Everything is right here in one location.”
The Taji Warrior Resiliency Campus is open 24 hours a day and has something for each of the pillars of CSF. If a soldier needs to discuss something troubling them, they can either talk to a chaplain or a combat stress counselor. There is also a nutritionist on staff.
Unlike other resiliency centers, Taji’s has an obstacle course and boxing ring to help the troops release stress. The inside of the facility has been completely remodeled by soldiers for soldiers.
The CAB’s senior enlisted advisor Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Thomson said, it took about three weeks and 24 of the brigade’s soldiers to convert an old squadron headquarters into the new resiliency campus. The soldiers gutted the building, cleaned it and did all the construction and painting.
The CAB soldiers built a theater room and a multi-console gaming center to help their fellow soldiers relax. The also built several privacy booths for phone and video calls to loved ones in the states.
“One of the greatest threats to our soldiers and their families are multiple deployments,” said Muth. “Having a strong Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program strengthens resiliency which helps fosters our philosophy of soldier strong plus family strong equals Army strong.”