FORT HOOD, Texas-Leadership from the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, III Corps and Army Corps of Engineers held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovation and reopening of Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center.
"Today we get an opportunity to honor a fallen comrade in Chaplain (Lt.Col.) Alton Raymond Kieschnick, who died in 1975 while returning from a training event here at Fort Hood." Said 13th ESC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Douglas McBride Jr., "Kieschnick Gym was dedicated to him in memory of his service and commitment to not only the 13th ESC, but III Corps, but to Fort Hood and the nation."
Members of the Kieschnick family attended the ceremony in honor of their father who died in an aircraft accident in Fort Stockton, Texas April 26, 1975 while in service to Soldiers of the 13th COSCOM, III Corps and Fort Hood.
"This is overwhelming. Coming here and seeing the memorial was a rush of emotion." Said Greg Kieschnick, Chaplain Kieschnick's son. "It feels awesome to see what they did and honor my father."
Since 2014 Kieschnick Gym was used as a combatives training facility. When McBride took command of the 13th ESC in June 2016, he saw the need for the Soldiers on Support Ave. to have a fitness facility of their own.
"When I took command of the 13th ESC, I was excited because when I was a young lieutenant here at Fort Hood the 13th COSCOM gym was a foundational point of moral, recreation and physical fitness." McBride said. "When I first visited the gym I saw a single purpose facility that didn't meet the fitness needs of our Soldiers. One of my priorities was to bring it back to life, and bring it back to a point that will benefit the readiness of the 13th ESC and moral, recreation and support of its family members."
McBride and Command Sgt. Maj. Marco Torres, who was the Command Sergeant Major for the 13th ESC at the time, spoke with the III Corps command team and made the case there was a need for the ESC to have its own fitness facility. III Corps acknowledged the need for the facility and for the last 20 months the 13th ESC has been working with garrison and the Corps of Engineers designing and renovating the gym.
Kieschnick Gym has a whole new look. The flooring, walls and ceiling have been refinished. The gymnasium is filled with a combination of new strength and conditioning equipment. There is also a physical therapy room that caters to Soldiers recovery needs. Other sections of the gym will have free weights, spinning classes as well a racket ball and a rock climbing wall. There are plans to build a running track outside the facility. There is also a dedicated reconditioning program inside the facility in partnership with DARNEL Community Hospital to get actual licensed physical therapists on site to join our Master Fitness Instructors to ensure injured Soldiers can get back to the fight.
"It's quite an honor for us to be here. It's very emotional to have our father memorialized like this." Said Chaplain Kieschnick's daughter Beth Kieschnick Patterson. " I came up here back when I was in college and the building I saw was a basic gymnasium and to walk in now and see what has been done to this state of the art facility is just amazing. "
"The corner stones of any thriving formation is the barracks they live in, The DFAC that they eat in, The chapel that they worship in and the gym they utilize for physical fitness. " McBride said, adding "We had all of those things except for the physical fitness center. So now the puzzle is complete. We have all of the corner stone of a thriving organization in place and resourced and supported by the leadership at Fort Hood who care about the Soldiers that occupy Support Ave."
Kieschnick Gym is open and operated six days a week. From 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. The gym is open to all Soldiers and family members.