By Shandi Dix, Fort Riley Public AffairsFebruary 11, 2010
FORT RILEY, Kan.-With the Super Bowl pre-game show playing on 19 televisions, it was a super Sunday to officially open the Army's first Warrior Zone.
Pvt. Aaron Corona, a combat engineer with Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, spent his Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7, as a VIP.
Corona was the winner of a Super Bowl Party he got to share with five of his friends. The Soldiers, all from Co. C, STB, 2nd HBCT, along with one honorary member, were able to enjoy the game in private luxury with recliners, a 65-inch TV and all the food they could eat.
"I thought it was a joke at first," Corona said about receiving the call that he'd won. "It's a first to be winning something."
Corona and four of his friends cheered the New Orleans Saints onto victory. The odd man out, Pvt. Nicholas Miccoli, combat engineer, cheered for the Indianapolis Colts.
The six friends shared the same thoughts on being VIPs for the day.
"I think it's awesome," said Pvt. Daniel Ruiz, combat engineer. "We don't really have too much back in our barracks, but getting a place like this just to watch the Super Bowl and doing all of this for us, I think is awesome."
"It's awesome," said Staff Sgt. Charles Keaton, squad leader. "We've got the big TV, big comfy chairs, it's not really noisy - we get to make our own noise, scream and holler."
Keaton brought his little brother, Walter along. Walter moved here recently to live with his brother and Corona said he had an extra seat Walter was welcome to have.
"It's a good way to get broken in," Walter said. "Better than what I was going to do."
Because the friends work in the same company they see each other every day. The Warrior Zone allows them to spend time together in their civilian attire.
"We come here on the weekends," Ruiz said. "It gives us a place to hang out; gets us out of the barracks. It's got free games, TVs, movies, anything you want you got it here; nice little set up."
The friends agreed this was the best Super Bowl experience they've had.
"It makes it a lot better because you've got the recliners, big screen TV, free food right now. So I'd say this is a pretty awesome set up for the Super Bowl," Ruiz said.
Although the Warrior Zone has already been open, it was made official with the ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Brig. Gen. David Petersen, 1st Inf. Div. deputy commanding general-rear, Fort Riley Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Brown, Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Ian Mann and Desaree Molina, president of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, took part in the ceremony.
Brown shared a few words and welcomed those preparing to watch the game to the Army's first Warrior Zone.
"This is a place to come, hang out, tell war stories, have a beer, play pool, play video games and just really relax; stay and hang with your team and enjoy that teamwork and that camaraderie that you have when you're ready to have it," Brown said.
The 4,200 square foot facility has movie theater style seating, 19 televisions, pool tables, card tables, four video game systems and an online gaming section. It also has a cafAfA and Wi-Fi. The patio area will expand the space to hang out once warmer weather arrives.
This Warrior Zone is the interim step to what ultimately will be a 25,000 square foot facility, he said.
Prizes were given away throughout the event. The big winners were Pfc. Derrick Boucha, who won a 40-inch TV, and Pvt. Daniel Reams, who won tickets to the Kansas State University vs. Nebraska basketball game.
The VIPs made a few predictions on the outcome of the game with the final score. Charles predicted a 35-28 outcome with the Saints on top. Crenshaw predicted 40-31 Saints, while Walter and Miccoli both predicted 21-7-Walter with the Saints on top and Miccoli with the Colts on top.
The New Orleans Saints in fact came out on top with a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts to clench their first ever Super Bowl win in their first Super Bowl appearance.