JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Since the 49th Transportation Battalion adopted Killeen Field at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, they have worked to revamp everything but the field's name.
The Battlion out of Fort Hood, Texas, adopted Killeen Field — named after Killeen, Texas — in July and immediately began cleaning it, making repairs and laying the groundwork for large-scale improvements.
Spc. Adrian B. Lee, a transportation management coordinator with the 49th Trans. Bn. and a Marianna, Fla., native, said the field is only used for football, but he and his unit would like to expand its functionality to include soccer and other sports.
"We want to tell people it's a place you can go to have fun and hang out," said Lee. "It's not rundown anymore and we would like to get more people involved out there."
He said they plan to look into getting a scoreboard, grill and a concession stand at the field. These improvements would benefit service members and civilians who look for a full, sporting-event experience, he said.
Staff Sgt. Winston C. Purchase, the unit's non-commissioned officer in charge of in-processing for Mobile Control Teams and an Austin, Texas, native, said the unit kept the field's name because it lent itself to the hometown feel.
"Killeen Field was adopted for the morale of the Soldiers," said Lee. "It was basically a field just sitting there and nobody was taking care of it. It was an eyesore."
Lee said the 49th Trans. Bn. adopted it, put a sign on the fence with their name on it and began to clean.
He said they want to keep the field maintained and opened for to more events.
The unit plans to put a cover over some of the bleachers because the field and seating give no protection from the sun, he said.
Some smaller projects the unit would like to address include fixing the gate, adding new cones and improving the field's aesthetics, he said.
"We have to start small," said Lee. "There are soccer goals on the field, but they also need to be fixed."
Purchase said he wants more service members and civilians to use this field and to know the 49th maintained it for them. When they see the work the unit has done, he said he hopes they will continue to care for it as his unit has.
"We want to leave our name," said Purchase.
Lee said he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in high school, building houses, and the experience made him want to make the field better than it was when he arrived here.
"It's a good feeling knowing something we're doing is going to be here after we leave," he said.