FORT IRWIN, Calif. — With major, quality-of-life initiatives underway at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, multiple barracks complexes are set to receive significant upgrades. For Unaccompanied Housing Manager, Steve Romero, getting the Soldiers out of their bedrooms and into dayrooms was crucial for boosting morale, as well as building comradery.
“The installation had close to $250,000 to spend on upgrades,” Romero said.
“In consultation with the various BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) representatives, we created, and ordered a wide variety of items for every barracks building on this installation.”
Items to be supplied to the barracks buildings include multiple 70-inch Smart TVs, soundbars, brand new ping pong tables, foosball and pool tables, as well as full-sized refrigerators and microwaves.
“These upgrades are long overdue,” said1916th Support Battalion Commander Capt. Roger Hunt. “Our Soldiers really deserve this, and I hope they enjoy the ability to gather and enjoy their off time in an environment they can be proud of.”
Hunt was encouraged that the items supplied to them would also help unit morale.
“The new grills that have been provided to us will enable our unit to conduct planned cookouts after return of mission during REGEN (regeneration) operations,” he said.
For BOSS representative, Spc. Michael Martin, the upgrades could not have come at a better time.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of the barracks in many ways,” Martin said. “It has lowered morale by limiting the size of gatherings and forces the Soldiers to isolate in their respective rooms.”
Soldiers living within Barracks Building 273 are impressed on their dayroom improvements. Building 273, which opened in March of 1967, is one of the oldest barracks buildings on this installation and is slated to be replaced by a newer complex in 2025.
According to Martin, “We eventually want to repaint the room, and do some more cosmetic improvements, but the dayroom has now become a place for Soldiers to decompress and relax on their free time. I am confident that the new additions to the barracks will boost morale by allowing us to get out and participate in activities again, while still remaining safe and adhering to NTC Policy.”
While new items are being supplied, older items are also being refurbished. According to Romero, units can turn in older equipment and receive newer items. Missing or damaged pool balls, ping pong balls, pool sticks can easily be replaced.
“It doesn’t do any good for us to have brand new items in the warehouse,” he said. “We need to get these items out to the Soldiers as soon as possible.”