AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
The 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron Fitness Center staff at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, is responsible for providing multiple ways for personnel to succeed in their physical wellness.
Fitness to military personnel, especially in a deployed environment, is essential. With the thousands of Airmen, Soldiers and coalition partners here, the Fitness Center has ensured that fitness expectations are exceeded daily.
“The Fitness Center’s unique makeup of contractors, military personnel, instructors, trainers and coalition partners provide sports and activities to keep us engaged all deployment long,” said Staff Sgt. Kirsten Mathis, 380th EFSS Fitness Assessment Cell manager.
The main facility, run by this special team, is the 24-hour ADAB Fitness Center. The Fitness Center has hundreds of pieces of equipment for personnel to choose, ranging from the basketball court to leg press machines.
Aside from the main Fitness Center, there is also the Tactical Pad, Annex and Fitness Sprung. These facilities allow personnel to take part in CrossFit exercises and other rigorous types of workouts.
“Besides equipment, members have access to various fitness opportunities,” Mathis said. “From intramural sports, to meet-and-greets with professional athletes, we work around the clock to provide everyone with a variety of things to choose from. Also, the certified trainers here offer one-on-one training sessions for those interested in meeting their own fitness goals at absolutely no cost.”
The team also hosts plenty of intramural sporting events, including softball, football and basketball for ADAB personnel to remain fit to fight while having fun.
“Intramural football is a fun way for all branches, and even countries to come together and have some friendly competition,” Senior Airman Roderick Hooker, 380th EFSS Fitness Assessment Cell specialist.
The team hosts an average of two 5k runs a month for the installation, and have been huge successes every time. Other successes are the Iron Man Deadlift and Bench Press competitions and coalition-led strength and conditioning classes, meant to benefit personnel’s fitness standards.
“We are the heartbeat of deployments at all times,” said Robert Lawson, 380th EFSS assistant fitness manager. “Airmen, Soldiers and Marines, and everyone else must be physically ready to go. They are able to come in 24 hours a day, before and after their shifts during deployments. It becomes a lifestyle for them. It’s a great feeling watching people reach the goals they set for themselves.”
Unlike some of fitness teams downrange, this special group has the ability to conduct Fitness Assessments for military personnel, and even conduct the Physical Training Leader-Basic course.
“I led the first ever PTL-B course,” Hooker said. “Instead of people having to come to us for Fitness Assessments, this course allows PTLs with CPR certification, to test their own units. It allows different squadrons to take charge of maintaining their own Fitness Assessments. This initiative is definitely a big bonus, especially in a deployed environment.”
From their around-the-clock facilities to the specialized classes, the Fitness Team shows how hard-working and dedicated they are with assisting the men and women deployed here at ADAB with improving their lives through the ways of fitness.
“For some, that outlet of pumping iron or putting in those miles on the treadmill provides an avenue for the member to decompress, reset and get back to the grind the next day,” said Staff Sgt. Roberto Rodriguez, 380th EFSS fitness center operations NCO in charge. “The Air Force directly benefits the team member who has the physical capabilities to endure those 12 to 14 hours days of bringing the fight to the enemy day in and day out. Our staff is excellent in supporting that mission by providing personal quality service for each other of our ADAB counterparts and coalition partners."