Fort Belvoir hosted a live radio show May 13 in the USO Warrior and Family Center.
Boxer, 98.7 WMZQ-FM Morning Show host, talked with Belvoir leaders about military history, the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, and military technology to name a few topics. The visit is part of the morning show's Military Appreciation Week, in which Boxer visits several military installations to learn about the latest military activities and to honor the courage of servicemembers and Families.
"I'm a guy that did not serve but I would like to be able to do something to give back to those that have," Boxer said. "Fort Belvoir is beautiful. I'm very impressed and there's so much history here."
This is the fourth Military Appreciation Week for Boxer's morning show. The radio host has visited Belvoir each year. During this year's visit, Boxer spoke to Garrison Commander Col. Gregory D. Gadson and Program Executive Office Soldier Command Sgt. Maj. Emmett Maunakea. Gadson spoke about his military career: from his battle injuries to his acting experiences. Gadson also talked about a visit to Boston where he spoke to Boston Marathon bombing victims. He called the experience a blessing.
"Our opportunities in life are very quick. You always have to do your very best and always be prepared because you never know when certain things in your life can change for better or worse" Gadson said. "Life is short and it presents changes, so make the most of every day you have."
Maunakea updated Boxer on the latest developments from PEO Soldier, which designs and develops equipment and protection for warfighters. Maunakea talked about the Soldier Plate Carrier system, which is a soft and hard armor vest servicemembers wear in battle. PEO Soldier is developing ways to make the vest lighter, an objective that will enable easier movement for Soldiers wearing the equipment. PEO Soldier has already made advancements in body armor for females by adjusting the armor to better fit the female body. Female Soldiers who tested the uniform demonstrated about a 10 percent increase in qualification scores, Maunakea said.
"There's a lot of equipment that a Soldier has to carry … when you're in combat, you're a little bit less effective with the more equipment you have to use. Obviously, it works against your ability to turn, move, get down, get up and engage targets," Maunakea said. "The lighter we can get his or her equipment, the more effective they can be in combat."
As part of his conversation with Maunakea, Boxer tried on the Soldier Plate Carrier system, provided by Maunakea, to experience what Soldiers feel in combat situations.
Boxer also wore replica uniforms from the Revolutionary War and Civil War eras during his visit. Representatives from the National Museum of the U.S. Army provided the replica uniforms. The representatives participated in the morning show to support the garrison and to promote the National Museum of the U.S. Army, which will be located on Fort Belvoir. The museum will tell the story of the U.S. Army, National Guard and Army Reserve through the use of artifacts, reproduction uniforms and additional items.
"We're here to show our support of Armed Forces week and to impart some information about the importance of the Army's history and heritage to Boxer and his listening audience," said Dayna Rowden, National Museum of the U.S. Army, director of communications. "The importance of sharing some of that history is that people understand the life of the American Soldier and the importance that the Army plays in the development of our nation."
Boxer's morning show continued its Military Appreciation Week by visiting the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday and the Washington Navy Yard in Washington D.C., Wednesday. Boxer is visiting Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia this morning and will conclude the week by visiting Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
"It gives me more pride each and every year that I do this for my country," Boxer said. "This gives us a chance to show our appreciation for the men and women in uniform and their Families and give information to the public about things they might not have known about the military."