FORT IRWIN, Calif.-Before the Nov. 24 grand opening of the Fort Irwin Furniture Store, Soldiers and Families at Fort Irwin and the National Training Center had two choices when it came to purchasing new furniture and appliances: embark on a 150-mile round trip to the nearest mall or order an item from the AAFES catalogue.

"The furniture store was a little over 125 square feet," Fort Irwin AAFE S general manager Chester Hires. "Now we've got over 1,900 square feet for appliances. You can see what you want instead of looking in the book."

The new 22,000 square foot facility, which includes state-of-the-art electronics, a new laundry/dry cleaners and a monogram shop came to more than $4 million, Hires said.

"This and other things that we're doing here is just a small token toward payment back to all our family members and our Soldiers for all the sacrifices they make," Fort Irwin/National Training Center Commanding General Brig. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams said. "This sends the message that our Soldiers and our family members matter most, because that what makes us the Army we are. "

When Secretary of the Army John McHugh visited Fort Irwin on Nov. 19, Brig. Gen. Abrams said Mr. McHugh had one question after touring the entire installation.

"He said to me, 'My God, how do you get anybody to come out here and work this tempo to pull all this off and be so remote and so forth.," Brig. Gen. Abrams said. "The answer is because we have selfless servants."

Fort Irwin and the NTC have selfless Soldiers, family members, Department of the Army civilians and contractors, many who commute 150 miles each day, to come out and train the force, he said.

"It's because that is a core value of the Army to be selfless that's how we get people to come out," Brig. Gen. Abrams said.

Fort Irwin Garrison Commander Col. Jim Chevallier called the opening of the new facility "one more small step to make Fort Irwin a great place to train, a great place to live, a great place to serve and a great place to deploy from and a great place to raise a family."

"It's a great day to be at Fort Irwin as we continue to make continuous improvements," Col. Chevallier said. "It's small steps that overall equal great improvement."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16