Warrior Combatives Training Center opens
May 18, 2012
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (May17) -- Following months of infrastructure upgrades and renovations, the Fort Belvoir Warrior Combatives Training Center officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday.
Capt. Alejandro Gentry, former Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Activities commander, served as master of ceremonies. He recognized the many individuals who contributed to the center's reconditioning and introduced distinguished guests, including; Goutam Dalal, representing construction contractor DIVCO, Inc.; Wilson Almendarez, Fort Belvoir Directorate of Public Works senior engineer and architect; and Tony Jimenez, CEO of custom mat provider MicroTech. MicroTech also donated athletic equipment to the facility, sponsored the appearance of several Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial artists who conducted a meet-and-greet following the ceremony, and awarded several Soldiers with tickets to the May 15 UFC event at the Patriot Center in Fairfax. Va.
According to Lt. Col. R. Dwayne Bowyer, Headquarters Battalion commander and event host, the ceremony marked the culmination of the training center's long development as a modern facility for
Soldiers participating in the Modern Army Combatives Program across the force.
"Many of us thought this day would never get here," he said. "So many contributed to making this vision become a reality. This facility could not have transformed, from the dilapidated 1950s warehouse, to this great training facility without the leadership of the Directorate of Public Works, the support of the Military District of Washington, National Capital Region and all who assisted in developing the ideas."
Bowyer added that the extensive renovations have allowed the facility to be available to a growing number of Soldiers and to be formally recognized as a hosting training center by the U.S. Army Combatives School in Fort Benning, Ga. The new center has provided Fort Belvoir with many new opportunities, he said.
"This facility has opened so many options in providing flexibility in training," he said. "We no longer have to compete for gym space. It now allows Soldiers who might not always be able to get away from their day jobs to have an opportunity to train. The garrison command teams, both past and present, have supported the MACP and given the battalion the freedom of maneuver to execute this important mission to train our Soldiers. It is truly the greatest opportunity that many of our Soldiers have here in the National Capital Region. We were able to host our first intramural Combatives tournament here this past March. We've also completed our first level-four tactical Combatives instructor course, only the third time that course was ever instructed away from the USACS at Fort Benning."
Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, Commanding General, Joint Force Headquarters, National Capital Region, Military District of Washington, attended the event and spoke with Soldiers and guests to show his appreciation of Fort Belvoir and its new training facility.
"Today is really a special day. This facility goes to the heart of what we do in the military," Linnington said. "As the senior commander for the Military District of Washington, I am responsible for the training in leader development, readiness and resilience of our Soldiers; and if you think about those three words, the Combatives program really goes to the heart of them. This facility came about as the result of a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of people. Without a facility, you cannot get through the training. The training in leader development and the confidence this facility will bring to our warriors, in the entire MDW over the next several years, is what makes today so special. It brings leadership skills to Soldiers who are in the toughest of conditions."
Following the opening addresses, Linnington and Bowyer joined Col. John J. Strycula, Fort Belvoir garrison commander, Almendarez, Dalal and Jimenez at the front of the training center for the official ribbon cutting.
Soldiers and guests enjoyed an opportunity to speak with several fighters from the Ultimate Fighting Championship series, including Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller, Aaron Simpson, Joe Lauzon, Justin Hickey and Kris McCray during a meet and greet and autograph signing session after the ceremony. Popular ring girl Brittney Palmer also made an appearance. The UFC fighters then visited Wounded Warriors at the Wounded Warrior Complex and took a tour of Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.