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Cpl. Decil Burns, lifeguard and safety swimmer, Training Tank, helps a participant over come her fear of jumping into the pool by catching her on the way down during a swimming class for children hosted at the Training Tank, June 10, 2014. The group of children are part of a program which takes kids who are in home schooling and have them participate in activities that change monthly.

Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria

Base facilities give opportunities for fun under sun

12 Jun 2014 | Cpl. Charles Santamaria

Whether the children have been released for summer vacation, a Marine has just gotten off duty or the platoon has been dismissed for liberty, the need to find something fun and interesting to do during off-duty hours is always prevalent.

As the summer begins heating up the Combat Center, programs are starting for service members and families to enjoy. Through these programs and facilities, Combat Center families and service members find ways to enjoy themselves in several locations on base.

The base pools give the community a place to cool off during the summer and offers activities and events for Combat Center patrons to participate in.

They offer swimming clinics for service members to improve their swimming skills, swim classes for children and adults, open swim for everyone and pool parties units or organizations can schedule for an hourly rate with different aquatic activities. During the summer time, the Training Tank also offers events like Movie Night for the whole family to enjoy pool side.

“It gives people an outlet and during the summer, gives them an escape from the heat,” said Sherry Powell, aquatics director. “The pool has many uses. Service members can attend clinics to be more ready for swim qualifications and families can come to both the splash park and the pools for a refreshing swim. We also host movie nights and pool parties which give patrons even more options when planning something fun to do while on base.”

For those who wish to head indoors for a night at the cinema, the base theater offers fun for service members with early showings of newly released movies and a location for live events such as the Leatherneck Comedy Tour. To add to its capability as an auditorium and movie theater, the facility also houses events for other programs and performances for patrons of all ages, like Sesame Street Live. Weeklong movie marathons also run at the Sunset Cinema with different themes such as, holidays, movie sagas and decade-specific movies.

“The amount of money people save by going to the base theater is a draw on its own,” said Tammy Stewart, recreation operation assistant, base theater. “With free early screenings of new movies, themed movie marathons and the affordable prices, the theater is a fun place for service members and families to go. Our live events also draw big crowds, and we’re glad our facility can be used for so many positive things aboard the base.”

The on-base parks give families options for recreation, such as the Splash Park by the Training Tank, the skate park by the main exchange, and several sports courts and fields. The East and West Gyms provide their courts for intramural sports leagues, aerobics classes, basketball and racquetball. Felix Field also features a brand new paved track and state-of-the-art, astro-turf football and soccer field.

“Staying active is important to living a healthy lifestyle,” said James Burke, youth and family active living branch head. “Our goal is to have so many programs and opportunities for recreation available … that it will be hard for someone to say, ‘The base doesn’t cater to my interests.’ The more people who give input and suggestions on what they want, the more we will be able to cater to those requests.”

Other locations where events are held aboard the base include Del Valle Field and Lance Corporal Torrey L. Gray Field, where live concerts, mixed martial arts and family events are hosted for Combat Center patrons. We Salute You country festival, Summer Fight Night mixed martial arts bout, safety fairs, and unit family days are some of the recreational events hosted at these locations.

Facilities like the Lifelong learning Library add to the array of activities available aboard the base with science fairs, health seminars, arts and crafts for children, a place to relax, and holiday-oriented events for participants of all ages to attend.

“We want to ensure the library isn’t simply known as a place where literature can be found, but as a place service members can go to relax and go on the Internet or take a break from what they’re working on,” said Rosanna McGinnis, librarian. “For families, we offer many events and learning programs for participants of varying age groups to attend which encourage reading. Our themed events also go a long way to give children fun experiences while at the library.”

The base offers many activities and programs for Combat Center families to enjoy. With the size of the base and its location, finding activities and events in which to participate is an easy task if equipped with the knowledge of where to look.


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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms