• December 21, 2014

Programs for the soldiers, by the soldiers

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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 4:30 am

The Army has no shortage of soldier programs, but one stands out by focusing on warriors who make up more than one-third of the force: single soldiers.

This summer, soldiers were offered a variety of activities through the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program.

The lineup included a 24-hour postwide softball tournament, pool parties, a cruise to Yucatan and Cozumel, Mexico, a water park trip and regular volunteer visits to make lunch for patients of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple.

Developed in 1989 at Fort Hood, the BOSS program’s three pillars are to improve soldiers’ quality of life, offer leisure and recreational activities, and coordinate volunteer and community service opportunities.

Spc. Molly Brown, the BOSS representative for 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, thinks BOSS is a great way to network and make friends.

Big turnout

The pool parties have had amazing turn outs with at least 60 people attending the July event and around 200 at the most recent party, Brown said. People, including off-duty lifeguards, participated in the belly flop contest.

Although soldiers can be apprehensive about attending events for the first time because they don’t know anyone, Brown said, it really is a better opportunity for single soldiers to get out and meet other people.

“My recruiter actually met his wife through BOSS and they’re having a baby soon,” Brown added.

Brown feels the more soldiers are able to experience the Fort Hood surrounding community, the more fun they can have.

“If you just feel like going out on a limb and going by yourself, go for it,” Brown said. “Jump in the deep end.”

Spc. Brian Seitz, a BOSS representative for the Ironhorse’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, has noticed many soldiers don’t get out much because they think there are no activities for them.

Brown said officers have Club Hood and noncommissioned officers can go to the Backbone NCO Lounge, while Patton’s Pub, which was previously open to all ranks, is now the BOSS Headquarters.

While BOSS is geared toward single soldiers, participation is open to married soldiers when slots for events are available, said Fort Hood’s BOSS President Sgt. Sonya Legaspi.

Safe entertainment

The program helps soldiers adjust to Army life by keeping them occupied and active, Brown said.

BOSS wants to make sure single soldiers are safe and entertained, while also being an advocate for single soldiers’ quality of life issues involving barracks, dining facilities and other problems they may have.

“What we do is take feedback from the soldiers themselves and pass it up the chain,” Brown said. “It works just like a normal chain of command.”

From barracks issues to weekend closures of dining facilities, Brown said BOSS representatives get involved to help fix problems.

“If it takes longer than needed to get (something) fixed, then we step in,” Brown said.

Seitz believes BOSS gives soldiers a voice to tell their chain of command what they would like to see.

Get involved

Anyone interested in volunteering, participating in activities or becoming a unit representative can call BOSS Headquarters at 254-287-6116.

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