By Staff Sgt. Joel Pena November 21, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers, Family Members and Fort Drum neighbors gathered Friday for the "Fit for Duty. Fit for Life. Fit for the Climb." campaign kick-off and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Mountain Functional Fitness Facility.
The nearly 22,000-square-foot total fitness facility, which is located behind Army Community Service and Monti Physical Fitness Center, provides the community with training opportunities for the mind and body -- strength, agility and self-defense -- to prepare Soldiers for the physical demands of the battlefield.
"What you're seeing here today is symbolic," said Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander. "We are about to cut a ribbon in front of a single building, but it's not just about this building, It's about an entire culture.
"It's about an entire program, not just about getting in shape and looking good to be in the front page of Men's Health magazine," he said. "This is all about combat. It's all about being fit for duty, which is the theme of the campaign: 'Fit for Duty. Fit for Life. Fit for the Climb.'"
The MFFF is just one of the many improvements made on post during the past year, Milley added. In addition to upgrades at Monti Physical Fitness Center and Magrath Sports Complex, battalions and companies across the installation are receiving equipment and facilities to provide an easily accessible area for Soldiers throughout the day.
Ten combat readiness training facilities are located in several of the battalions' motor pool areas, and 37 companies received company operations facility gyms, which are located in modular buildings near the headquarters buildings.
"'Fit for duty' is an important concept and we needed to improve; and I believe we have," Milley said.
After thanking the huge efforts of many Soldiers, leaders and civilians, Milley proceeded to perform the ribbon cutting ceremony alongside leaders from across the 10th Mountain Division (LI), garrison and U.S. Army Installation Management Command.
Joining Milley for the ceremony were Brig. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy commanding general - operations; Brig. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy commanding general - support; Col. Gary A. Rosenberg, Fort Drum garrison commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Earl L. Rice, U.S. Army Installation Management Command senior enlisted adviser; Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin D. Sharkey, U.S. Army IMCOM Atlantic Region senior enlisted adviser; Command Sgt. Maj. Mark H. Oldroyd, Fort Drum garrison senior enlisted adviser; Hal Greer, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Jim Corriveau, director of Public Works; and the Soldier of the Quarter, Spc. Elizabeth Medina, 543rd Quartermaster Company, 548th Combat Service Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, attendees were welcomed inside the MFFF to receive an orientation and a tour of the facility.
Inside the facility, guests admired the rubberized flooring, cardio and strength-training equipment such as kettle bells, climbing cargo net, rope climbing stations, treadmills, climbers, rowing machines, skiing, endless rope machines and Jacob's ladder machines.
At each station, Soldiers representing different units provided demonstrations of the new equipment. Attendees also received orientations by Casey Huber, installation architect, and Maj. Robert Montz, subject-matter expert on human performance for the 10th Mountain Division and instructor of the installation's Mountain Athlete Warrior Course.
"Maj. Montz has trained 30 to 40 Soldiers on a monthly basis on functional fitness," Milley noted. "He's been training them to a level where they can train others: 'Train the trainers.'"
In addition, Montz wrote a book called "The Mountain Athlete Warrior," a standard operating procedure for functional fitness that is being implemented throughout the division.
The facility also offers 25-meter indoor Astro Turf sprint lanes, which provide Soldiers an area to build their stamina, muscular and cardiovascular strength. Soldiers gave demonstrations on the push / pull sleds with weights to the guests.
Visitors were most impressed with the MFFF combatives training room.
"Fort Drum's Light Fighters School provided the expertise on how to set up the room in accordance with the Modern Army Combatives Program," said 1st Sgt. Gonzalo Lassaly, Fort Drum Light Fighters School commandant. "We are also responsible with training the Department of Defense civilians (who) will train our Soldiers here at the Combatives Center. We also wrote an SOP that will be the guide for the combatives training."
Soldiers from the Fort Drum Combatives Team provided demonstrations in hand-to-hand combat and how to restrain a noncompliant person.
"Combatives not only teaches hand-to-hand combat," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Housewright, Light Fighters School level I and II combatives instructor. "It also teaches them how to interact with people at check points or during a car check or house search."
Soldiers never know when a person can become noncompliant and they will have to use these skills, he added.
"Combatives helps with a Soldier's confidence (in) knowing they have the ability to fight if they need to," Housewright explained.
At the conclusion of the orientation tour, Randy Gillette, MFFF manager, said the FMWR team was key in making the state-of-the-art facility a reality. He added that FMWR leadership provided guidance and instruction to all of the managers and employees of the facility, as well as provided coordination that led to a successful opening.
"This division has always been disciplined. This has been a great division, and all these programs here will just get us to the next level, the next mountain in order for all of us to 'Climb to Glory,'" Milley said.