By Spc. Khori Johnson, 3rd AAB, 4th Inf. Div. PAODecember 20, 2010
CAMP ADDER, Iraq -- In order to bring the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program to more Soldiers, the 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, recently opened the Iron Stronghold Resiliency Center on Camp Adder, Iraq.
The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness campaign is the Army's effort to strengthen the Soldier of today to create a well-rounded, resilient warrior. The foundation of the program lies in the five Pillars of Comprehensive Fitness: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Family, and Social.
The Iron Stronghold Resiliency Center demonstrates the Iron Brigade's commitment to Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and the investment the brigade has made in the Army's most valuable resource: the American Soldier.
"The Army is all about people. We are living, breathing human beings, not machines," said Maj. John Lim, brigade chaplain, 3rd AAB, 4th Inf. Div. "We want healthy, fit, emotionally stable, loving, kind, compassionate Soldiers."
The center contains a variety of rooms, each dedicated to a specific pillar, such as the non-denominational meditation room, representing the spiritual pillar.
The construction of the center took two months and employed volunteer Soldiers for all of the work. The needs of both Soldiers and families influenced the final product.
The facility is equipped with telephones and a computer lab with webcams for Soldiers to communicate back home. Also, the chaplain and his staff are available in the counseling room where families back home can also seek assistance via webcam.
"It was important for us to build this center with our Soldiers and their families in mind," said Command Sgt. Maj. Miles S. Wilson, 3rd AAB, 4th Inf. Div. "The brigade has put a lot of effort into this, because we owe it to our Soldiers. We send our Soldiers across the world and we put them in harm's way, so we owe them the opportunity to stay fit, stay resilient, and become better people from this deployment."
Some sections within the Iron Brigade will move their operations to the resiliency center in an attempt to centralize efforts and increase the availability of some of the brigade's assets. The brigade chaplain, equal opportunity advisor, and a nutritionist are now located on site.
"My job at the center is to be a part of all the five pillars," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Bryant, brigade equal opportunity advisor and brigade master resiliency trainer. "So for me to be centrally located at the center, when someone comes to specifically see me or drops in just in passing, I'll be there to answer any and all of their questions."
In addition to spiritual and equal opportunity guidance, Soldiers can visit the resiliency center to relax in one of the three massage chairs or take part in some friendly competition with a game of pool or a few video games.
"I heard about some of the things they were going to have at the center, but I was still surprised to see how it turned out," said Spc. Justin Bartee, an infantryman with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Special Troops Battalion. "I could definitely see myself coming here to wind down after a hard day."
The Iron Stronghold is the second resiliency center to open in southern Iraq. The 1st Infantry Division Headquarters opened the USD-S Resiliency Campus on Basra Airfield in September.