The Soldiers of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion receive new gym equipment.

FORT GREELY, Alaska -- The Soldiers with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion who man the Missile Defense Complex at Fort Greely, Alaska have received a number of new gym equipment items.

"It was an early Christmas present, the Soldiers were cycling through during the setup process and ogling the new equipment as they saw each piece delivered and set up waiting for their turn to try it out," said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Meyer. "You could feel the change in the motivating the Soldiers to do physical training."

Meyer was not the only Soldier glad to see the new equipment though.

"I have been here for more than eight years and this is the greatest thing we have ever gotten on the MDC," said Spc. Robert Stamper. "It was a long wait but well worth it in the end."

The nature of the mission for the Soldiers who guard and operate the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system requires them to work long hours around the clock, which can make maintaining physical fitness difficult. Soldiers cannot leave the MDC to go to the gym, and at least six months out of the year, physical fitness on the complex is challenging.

There was a small mix of personal and donated equipment that had been donated for Soldiers to use but it was insufficient and was failing. So when Lt. Col. Michael Hatfield, commander 49th Missile Defense Battalion, first became aware of it, he made it a priority to fix the situation.

"With the increased hours and PT scores that needed improvement, we needed to make the investment into an on-site solution," said Hatfield. "I worked with my S-4, and began a year-end cost analysis to see if we could afford the purchase."

Hatfield relied on his battalion S-4, 1st Lt. Rhett Kelly, who was a college athlete with significant training experience, to create a solution that fit their budget, the work space and the Soldiers' needs.

"We're now able to focus on company- and unit-level PT here on site 24-7, regardless of weather conditions," said Capt. Michael Long, Company A commander. "This will truly help our PT averages along with unit readiness without having to work extended shifts. This equipment is truly a great new tool that will get much use!"

Page last updated Wed January 8th, 2014 at 11:40