FORT BUCHANAN, PR -- USAG Fort Buchanan conducted a memorialization ceremony of the garrison’s Physical Fitness Center Annex January 14, 2021, in honor of US Marine Corps Reserve Private First Class Roberto E. Clemente Walker.
Col. Joseph B. Corcoran III, Fort Buchanan garrison commander, welcomed members of the Clemente family; distinguished guests; military and civilian partners, and directors and staff reaffirming the importance of Fort Buchanan’s commitment to the community by honoring “a Marine, an elite baseball player who was the first Latin American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but more importantly, an ambassador for all Puerto Ricans who was always willing to give a hand to those in need.”
Fort Buchanan’s commitment to provide the best possible facilities to our military and civilian community is evident in this $1.6 million and 4,800 square feet facility.
“Our new state of the art fitness annex is another quality of life initiative that enhances our emotional and physical well-being, while also building readiness within our formations and providing Soldiers a location to prepare for the Army Combat Fitness Test,” said Col. Corcoran.
This modern fitness facility, designed and constructed following energy conservation measures, also displays some new features such as: a bridge and tunnel; Plyo boxes, barbells, pull-up bars, rings, kettlebells, rowing machines, an assault treadmill, ropes and many other types of functional equipment that combine strength training, explosive plyometrics, speed training, power-style weight lifting, body weight exercises, gymnastics, endurance exercises, and range of motion, and mobility.
“We are here today conducting this ceremony because of the incredible teamwork of the Directorate of Public Works, the US Army Corps of Engineers and BIM Construction,” indicated Fort Buchanan’s garrison commander. The team that worked hard to get the Fitness Annex ready. In addition to future physical fitness resources that include, the hill on the backside of the annex, TRX bands anchored along the awning, and a soon to be completed outdoor track that will encircle the annex.
All these remarkable physical fitness features can be found in one place. However, Col. Corcoran emphasized, “The most important feature of this facility is the banner proudly displayed in front of the building honoring the legacy of Roberto Clemente and all he stood for.” The banner depicts images of Roberto Clemente when he joined the US Marine Corps Reserve in September 1958 where he served until September 1964.
It also shows various moments throughout his career in Major League Baseball playing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team retired his uniform number 21 during the 1973 season. Clemente died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua December 31, 1972.
During his remarks, First Sergeant Jaime Alvarez, Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve highlighted the values that make a good Marine were deeply embedded in Roberto Clemente’s life. “I would venture to say that PFC Clemente had the calling of being a United States Marine and would ultimately represent our core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Our institutional Core values is our foundation. They exist in order to make us better citizens, better leaders, and better warfighters. Our core values give us something to aspire to as men and women of honor and balanced excellence. Marines Such as PFC Clemente continue to solidify the effectiveness of our institutional core values,” said Alvarez.
Luis Roberto Clemente, Roberto Clemente’ son, thanked Fort Buchanan on behalf of his family “for the honor to have a facility inside of Fort Buchanan military installation named after my Dad.” Carmen Clemente Santana, Jannette Clemente Santana, Luis Roberto Clemente Igartúa, Adriana G. Córdova Pou and Christian Conklin Camareno, expressed their gratitude to Fort Buchanan’s leaders for the honor to continue the legacy of Roberto Clemente be known to generations of Soldiers, Service Members and Civilians who use the PFC Roberto E. Clemente Walker Physical Fitness Center Annex facilities.
It is a military tradition to recognize the figure of Service Members and Citizens who have distinguished themselves by honorably serving the nation and the values of freedom and democracy that our Constitution represents. The spirit and intention of the Memorialization Ceremony is to pay tribute to a distinguished Marine, Major League Baseball legend, citizen of Puerto Rico, Latin America and the world with a legacy of service in favor of those most in need. This honor belongs to PFC Roberto E. Clemente Walker.
Members of the US Marine Corps Reserve escorted the Clemente family to the event that concluded with a tour of the facilities conducted by members of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Physical Fitness Center and refreshments provided by the Gary Sinise Foundation.