• (Left to right) Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, commander of the Exchange; Clark Realty Capital development executive Jodi Winters, Fort Irwin Garrison commander Kurt Pinkerton, Lt. Gen. Joseph Fil, special assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; and National Training Center and Fort Irwin commanding general Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell unveil a plaque commemorating the grand opening of the Irwin Town Center on July 21, 2011 at Fort Irwin, Calif.

    (Left to right) Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella...

    (Left to right) Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, commander of the Exchange; Clark Realty Capital development executive Jodi Winters, Fort Irwin Garrison commander Kurt Pinkerton, Lt. Gen. Joseph Fil, special assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army...

  • (Left to right) Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, commander of the Exchange; Clark Realty Capital development executive Jodi Winters, Fort Irwin Garrison commander Kurt Pinkerton, Lt. Gen. Joseph Fil, special assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; and National Training Center and Fort Irwin commanding general Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell stand beside a plaque commemorating the grand opening of the Irwin Town Center on July 21, 2011 at Fort Irwin, Calif.

    (Left to right) Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella...

    (Left to right) Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, commander of the Exchange; Clark Realty Capital development executive Jodi Winters, Fort Irwin Garrison commander Kurt Pinkerton, Lt. Gen. Joseph Fil, special assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army...

  • A plaque commemorates the grand opening of the Irwin Town Center on July 21, 2011 at Fort Irwin, Calif.

    A plaque commemorates the grand opening of the...

    A plaque commemorates the grand opening of the Irwin Town Center on July 21, 2011 at Fort Irwin, Calif.

National Training Center and Fort Irwin commanding general Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell called it “a stepping stone in making Fort Irwin an ‘installation of choice,’” and former NTC/Fort Irwin commanding general Lt. Gen. Joseph Fil, who is now special assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, called it “a wonderful addition to the community.”

“It” is the Irwin Town Center, which features more than 26,000 square-feet of retail space, unaccompanied housing and a community plaza, located in the heart of the Fort Irwin Garrison as the entire Fort Irwin/National Training Center community gathered to celebrate the event today.

“What we were trying to do is make Fort Irwin the best place in the Army to raise a family and having a downtown Irwin town was integral,” Fil said. “It really is very much what we had in mind as we trying to conceive of a place where Soldiers and families could come and just enjoy their free time and feel like it was a place to come and just enjoy the center of Fort Irwin, downtown Irwin town.”

The town center is unique and is something the rest of the Army can aspire to, he said.
When asked about its importance to Fort Irwin, Fil said, “It’s huge because we’re a long way from civilization here and we are out in the desert, but it’s a wonderful place to be. It’s a great place to soldier, great place to train and a great place to raise a family.”

Clark Realty Capital development executive Jodi Winters publicly credited Fil for his work on the project during his tenure as the post’s commanding general from 2002-2004.

“Thank you for your belief in our vision and your determination in making this project a reality,” Winters said. “So much of what we see here today is a reflection of your involvement early on in the project.”

Although the project took seven years to complete, Winters said she believes everyone can agree that is has been worth the wait.

The town center is a small token of appreciation to all those serving at the National Training Center for all they do for the nation, she said.

“To all the men and women who are here serving our great country and the families who support them please know it was your sacrifice that was on our minds that motivated us to go above and beyond as we planned and built this town center,” Winters said.

Ferrell said life in the desert just got easier and will continue to get easier, even though the project took seven years to complete.

“If it was meant to be simple, if it was meant to be easy, we would’ve had it, but would it have been what it is today?” Ferrell asked. “Sometimes we have to stay the course and be strong and persevere so we can get what our families need.”

With these types of facilities at the town center and where he sees the installation going in the future, Ferrell said life will be good in the desert.

“As we build today and continue to refine this truly will be ‘an installation of choice,’” Ferrell said.

Page last updated Thu July 21st, 2011 at 00:00