Thoughts while working out in the gym
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard,
1st AD and Fort Bliss Commanding General:
Ready First wraps up at NTC
I recently visited the 1st Brigade, 1st AD during their rotation at the National Training Center, along with the 1-501st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade. I was impressed with how well our Soldiers did during the grueling training exercises they endured in the extreme heat and terrain of Fort Irwin, California. Our Ready First Soldiers and Iron Eagles deployed to NTC as a prepared, well-trained, and disciplined fighting force. We are all proud of them and confident they are ready for their tough deployment to Afghanistan later this year.
Unit Highlight – Combat Aviation Brigade
I would like to highlight our 1st AD Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB). The CAB activated at Fort Bliss in September 2011, after moving from Fort Hood. Led by COL Lonnie Hibbard and CSM Michael P. O’Donnell, the CAB is comprised of five battalions. Four of the battalions, 1-501st Aviation Regiment, 2-501stAVN, 3-501stAVN, 4-501st AVN, provide attack helicopters and lift support for our Soldiers. The 127th Aviation Support Battalion is charged with maintaining and sustaining the aviators.
Nearly 3,000 Iron Eagles are preparing for their deployment to Afghanistan over the next several months. The core of the brigade is combat tested and proven; many have deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 1st Armored Division is proud to be home to more than 110 aircraft – Apache Longbows, Blackhawks, Chinooks, and medevac helicopters. Iron Eagles!
We lost one of our Soldiers from 212th Fires Brigade, 1st AD, in a motorcycle crash last week on Transmountain Road in El Paso. Police investigators have determined that speed was a factor in the motorcycle crash. Our Soldier was current on his Motorcycle Safety Course, he was properly licensed, and he was wearing his helmet when the accident occurred.
We encourage everyone who rides with a group to make sure that the group follows the rules of the road and encourages safe driving. Leaders, continue to dig deeper and find out more about your Soldiers and their activities. Fifty percent of our traffic fatalities have occurred between Monday and Thursday. We must do more than just give a safety briefing before the weekend – get engaged with your Soldiers. Battle buddies, if you hear something that doesn’t sound right, tell someone – let’s keep looking out for each other.
No more preventable Soldier deaths! Let’s celebrate life and finish the year without one more preventable death.
We were honored that Fort Bliss was selected for the 2012 LivingWorks Award of Excellence. We recently received the award for our suicide prevention efforts. Fort Bliss has the lowest number of suicides of any major Army installation in CONUS. Fort Bliss is the first military installation to ever receive this prestigious award, as we are creating one of the most innovative and safest communities in America. We are personally committed to making sure all of our Soldiers seek help whenever they need it. Seeking help takes courage and it is the right thing to do.
We all need help at times. People want to help you. Call a friend or call the 24-hour Chaplain at 915-637-4265, the Team Bliss Operations Center at 915-744-1255, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647. Continue to look after each other and together we will eventually eliminate suicides on Fort Bliss.
The Soldier Show is back – this weekend! This year’s theme is “Army Strong,” reflecting the strength of our nation. The free 90-minute show begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, and a matinee performance will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, inside the Abraham Chavez Theater in downtown El Paso. Two of our very own Fort Bliss Soldiers are touring with the show: SSG Melvin Williams Jr. and PFC Justin Easter. I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the show! Let’s fill the Chavez Theater!
Soldier Activities Center
As some of you know, the Solder Activities Center opened earlier this month – providing a great source of recreation and entertainment for Fort Bliss. The facility was designed by Soldiers for Soldiers and other adults. The state-of-the-art facility features an indoor climbing/bouldering wall, a high ropes course, outdoor recreation equipment rental, a library, and a game room. The leisure travel services and BOSS headquarters are also located there. And, don’t forget the outdoor pool! The Warrior Zone, equipped with latest and greatest high tech gaming equipment, is coming soon. The center is open from 10 am to 9:30 pm every day. If we need to adjust or extend our hours of operation to better serve you, please let us know.
Becoming the healthiest and most fit military installation in the country means having plenty of fitness activities and competitions! We have a full schedule of events over the next few months.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, the German-American Oktoberfest Night Run will take place at Freedom Crossing.
On Sunday, Sept. 16, the USO’s Oryx Challenge Bike Tour will provide a 100K and 30K route for cyclists. The 100k bike ride begins at 7 a.m. and 30K at 9 a.m. For more information, go to www.raceadventuresunlimited.com.
The Inaugural Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Replica Aquatics Center at 7:30 a.m. This is our third Fort Bliss triathlon in a little over a year! We will continue with our Armed Forces Day triathlon in the spring, and now – our Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon in the fall. The race will consist of a 400M swim, a 17.2 mile bicycle route, and a 5K run. Registration is open – go to www.active.com or you can visit Soto or Stout Fitness Centers to register in person. The race is free for active duty, $45 all others, and $65 for teams. For more information, call 744-5790.
Well, back to the gym…
Be combat ready, be fit, be resilient, and be Iron Strong!
Iron Soldiers – A Bias for Action!
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