KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Support Battalion gathered to celebrate the opening of a new gym at Forward Operating Base Walton, Sept. 30.
The soldiers, who called FOB Walton home for more than six months, used a newly constructed maintenance tent to create a much-needed gym, which they officially named the Mustang Field House in honor of their organization’s nickname: Mustangs.
The project took about two weeks to complete. The transition of the tent from a maintenance facility to a field house required long hours of labor from 2nd BSB soldiers. The onetime home of military vehicles will now be an ideal site for Soldiers to stay fit and relax.
“The Mustang Field House was a combined effort with soldiers, contractors and civilians joining forces to improve the quality of life for the 1,700 personnel on FOB Walton,” said Lt. Col. Gary Grubb, commander of 2nd BSB, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “Our intent with this project was to provide a first-class facility for soldiers to improve their fitness, reduce stress and blow off steam in between missions.”
The new field house is much larger and will feature more equipment than the previous gym. It also features enough space to host indoor events.
The new facility has a wide selection of equipment, a climbing wall that soldiers constructed with their own personal resources, an indoor basketball court, a designated ping-pong area and empty space for indoor ceremonies or fitness classes.
The fact that soldiers from the 2nd BSB helped convert the facility into a gym minimized project costs. A contracting company had bid to complete the job in three weeks; the unit completed the project in just two.
The acquisition of equipment and interior construction was managed by Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Nemec, 2nd BSB, 2nd SBCT, 2nd Infantry Division. The gym construction was completed by Nemec, Repair and Utility personnel, Personal Security Detachment personnel and DynaCorp employees.
Nemec found a variety of ways to save government money on the project. He found all the resources needed to install power and air conditioners in the gym without requesting contractors, and took several trips to Kandahar Airfield to request and pickup equipment.
The completion of the facility has led to new ideas for future projects, soldiers said. Future scheduled improvements now include the plan to convert the old gym facility into a movie theatre and a conference room.