FORT HOOD, Texas-Fort Hood Soldiers don't have to fear the heat of Central Texas as the "Rail Gunners" prepare to take the sting out of summer.

41st Fires Brigade Soldiers are scheduled to open their pool, located off of 42nd Street and Old Ironsides, May 28. The pool is slated to be open from noon to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
"All you need to get in is a valid military I.D. card," said a Staff Sgt. William Van Patten, a Mansville, N.Y. native and NCOIC of 41st Fires Bde. pool.

The unit's pool features a high dive, low dive, lap lanes, and ranges from four to twelve feet in depth. Lifeguards will always be available during operating hours.

"We work hard to make sure the pool area is nice for our guests," said Lifeguard Pfc. Anthony Tapia, of Manhatten, N.Y. "We check the pH levels in the pool, vacuum the pool, and make sure everything is clean."

Cleanliness and safety are only two of many benefits to swimming on post instead of off-post.
"Some benefits of swimming here is that it is free to swim, there will always be a lifeguard present for safety reasons, and you can save gas by staying nearby." said Lifeguard Spc. David Leighton, from Fredrick, Md. "Swimming is a good workout and is a great way to get out of the Texas heat."

Families are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of the pool resources.

"I love taking my daughter to the pool," said Gina Fox, a military spouse. "I think it is a great resource to have and I will come weekly, if not daily."

Van Patten agrees the pool is a great resource and thinks it gives families fun alternative options rather than staying indoors during the summer.

"The pool provides a safe environment and plenty of supervision without being mandatory or forced," said Van Patten. "We are open seven days a week and even though it is troop ran, the pool is open to the public."

Swimming is a great way to stay out of the summer heat and exercise while having fun. The 41st fires Bde. pool offers a clean, safe, family-oriented environment. Check out pool schedules around Fort Hood for more pool openings.

But as for now, get a bottle of sunscreen, a few towels and don't forget your I.D. card because the 41st Fires Bde. lifeguards and pool are ready to take the edge off from the coming heat wave.