KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (October 15, 2012) - The Joint Sustainment Command - Afghanistan recently opened its own Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
The command held an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the facility on Sept. 26, 2012, and it has been in heavy use since its doors opened to soldiers and civilians of the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and JSC-A.
According to the JSC-A's leadership, the facility was opened to afford their soldiers the opportunity to have a MWR facility of their own within their compound.
"It's been a long time coming but I wanted to make sure our soldiers have something to call their own here," said Command Sgt. Maj. Karl A. Roberts, the 3d ESC and JSC-A's senior enlisted leader. "The building of this facility was planned by our soldiers, for our soldiers."
When the 3d ESC arrived at Kandahar Airfield in April, the JSC-A compound included an MWR facility that was essentially a tent designed as a gym in order for personnel to be able to work out during the work day.
While this may sound like a nice setup, the actual condition of the facility was far worse than could be imagined. Being a tent, the previous MWR was subject to the constant wear and tear associated with being in Afghanistan and was a main attraction for rodents looking for shelter.
Within days of taking over as the senior logisticians in country and becoming responsible for all logistics operations in Afghanistan, the 3d ESC tore down the previous facility and began the planning process for a new MWR.
After months of planning and with the careful guidance of the J-4, the new MWR facility arrived and was constructed into what it is today.
"After getting rid of the old facility, the command decided to design a MWR that everyone would actually want to use," said Staff Sgt. David Late, a satellite communication systems operator maintainer and Newington, Conn. native with the JSC-A. "Not long after, the J-6 got involved and decided that instead of getting weights and ping pong tables, go the technology route and get SPAWAR, which uses communications technology through satellite to provide internet and telephone service."
After coordinating with the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR) to set up the necessary wiring, servers and antenna needed for service, the JSC-A's Army Chief Information section began to emplace the hardware need to create the facility.
Since its grand opening, the JSC-A MWR has been a popular site for Soldiers looking to communicate with family and friends or relax during downtime.
"The ability to go somewhere within the compound to enjoy something fun and be able to relax is a good situation to have," said Late.
While Kandahar Airfield's USO and MWR facilities are all within walking distance, JSC-A personnel will be able to take care of all their communication needs without leaving their compound.
With a total of ten computer stations and five phones, the JSC-A MWR is considered to be one of the nicest and well equipped in theater, according to the command's leadership.
"Our soldiers did an excellent job in making sure we had everything we needed to build what I consider to be one of the nicest MWR facilities in Afghanistan," said Roberts. "While not as big as some of the others in theater, this facility is better pound for pound than most of the others I've seen and I'm proud that we could put our stamp on it."