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New Military Facilities Promote Health; Honor Lives Lost

BAMBERG, GERMANY and NAPLES, ITALY — The military showed its commitment to fitness with the opening of two new, major fitness facilities for the Army and Navy overseas in late January.

The Army opened the $14-million Freedom Fitness Facility (FFF) on Warner Barracks in Bamberg, Germany.

“This facility will provide our community with exactly what they need and more to look to a healthier lifestyle,” Mary Jo Lohrenz, director of community activities, said. “The 279th BSB (Base Support Battalion) just entered into the current century of fitness.”

The 74,000-square-foot facility includes a regulation-sized basketball court that can be split into two volleyball courts with the capacity to seat about 1,750 people, indoor walking/running track, boxing ring, wrestling room, two racquetball courts, and aerobics, cardio, free-weight and multipurpose exercise rooms. Also, the locker rooms have saunas, and the FFF has a juice bar and a Freedom Café.

The facility was named to pay tribute to Bamberg soldiers who lost their lives in the global war on terrorism.

“Their sacrifices make it possible for all of us to continue enjoying freedoms everyday, and for that, we will never forget them,” Lt. Col. Daniel Thomas, 279th BSB commander, said.

The timing of the FFF opening was also perfect, Thomas said.

“It's great for soldiers who returned almost one year ago from Operation Iraqi Freedom I, and it's a nice reward for soldiers who are returning now and later this year. Even soldiers who recently deployed have something to look forward to when they return. That the Army could provide such an impressive facility as this shows how much we appreciate and are thankful for all their efforts.”

The Navy Department of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) also opened a fitness facility. The facility, at its Naples support site in Gricignano, Italy, has 72,000 square feet.

“Navy MWR is pleased to offer this outstanding facility to the Naples military community,” said Kelly Powell, head, Mission Essential Branch, Commander, Naval Installations Commands in Millington, TN, detachment. “We're committed to assisting sailors in achieving and sustaining their personal and mission readiness, and this new facility helps promote the Navy's culture of fitness.”

The facility is for the entire Naples military community but will particularly serve the 876 military personnel and their families who live within walking distance of the center. Features include a 50-meter pool; outdoor Z-shaped pool; outdoor Jacuzzi; baby pool; two racquetball courts; spin room with 26 bikes; basketball court with six retractable backboards that can also support three volleyball nets; free weight and circuit weight areas; aerobics and cardio areas; conference room; and men's and women's locker rooms with showers and saunas.

“MWR programs at the center include aerobics, spinning, yoga, martial arts and aquatics,” said Dominick Corrada, Naval Support and Activity, Naples sports and fitness director. “We also offer personal trainers and assistance with annual fitness testing and assessments, including mentoring for weight loss, weight management and programs to meet physical readiness assessment requirements.”

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