Recreation Downrange: Army MWR Delivers

By Rice, Harriet E. | Parks & Recreation, December 1998 | Go to article overview

Recreation Downrange: Army MWR Delivers


Rice, Harriet E., Parks & Recreation


I magine this. Your job sends you to live in a foreign country where the peopLe speak little or no English, where you're housed on a five-acre plot of ground surrounded by concertina wire, living with hundreds of others like yourseLf in rows of dormitory-style tents heated by kerosene stoves.

You sLeep on a cot and hang bLankets for privacy. You build makeshift booksheLves from the wooden boxes that contained your instant meals. For showers and personaL hygiene, you have to walk to a building down the road. But there are no paved roads between the rows of tents, only dirt that turns to choking dust in the summer, mud in the spring and faLL, and an ice-skating rink in winter. Everything you need for daily living must be shipped in. There are no shopping malls, no fast-food outlets, no cinema complexes, and no amusement parks.

You can't Leave this secure area unless you travel in a convoy on official business. When you do leave the compound, your business is dangerous and stressful and conducted in a hostiLe environment.

No need to imagine this scenario. In November 1995, if you were a soldier deployed to Bosnia or Hungary in support of Operation Joint Endeavor (OJE), this was reaLity. NearLy 8,000 soldiers are stiLL in the BaLkans carrying out the mission now known as Operation Joint Forge. While the living conditions have improved considerably in three years, the need for fitness and recreation activities remains as essential as weapons, ammunition, food, and water.

The old saying that war is a condition alternating between seconds of sheer terror and hours of sheer boredom is borne out here. And every commander knows boredom, homesickness, anxiety, fatigue, and idleness are his or her worst enemies behind the lines. Whether it was the Salvation Army sisters serving doughnuts on the battlefields of France in World War I or the Special Services personnel of World War II and Vietnam, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs were and are the commander's frontline resource for readiness.

Today, that resource is provided in the form of Department of the Army civilian employees: MWR specialists who deploy with units to deliver morale and recreation programs where the troops serve. There are currentLy 20 to 30 MWR specialists serving at a dozen base camps in Bosnia, delivering everything from aerobics classes to live entertainment to card tournaments and libraries. They are the latest rotation of more than 100 Army civilians who have served three- to 12-month tours since the MWR support mission officialLy began in 1995.

U.S. Army Europe's Mike Hester is a veteran when it comes to deployed MWR. A sports director stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, he's seen it aLL - from southwest Asia to Africa to the Balkans and back. He traveled to Hungary and Bosnia with Army units as part of the advance Operation Joint Endeavor party that departed the day after Thanksgiving 1995. He was the first MWR specialist, one of very few civilians making up the 35-member team that paved the way for the forces of Operation Joint Endeavor.

"I was there to give the commander a realistic concept of where we could go in terms of supporting the quality of life for the troops, based on numbers of soldiers, political and military geographical concerns, and how quickLy we couLd do it," Hester explained.

That Hester was in the advance party was quite different from the Operation Desert Storm (ODS) scenario, thanks to Army doctrine deveLoped out of lessons learned from MWR operations in the Gulf War. Both Hester and Joe Pettoni voLunteered for MWR duty in southwest Asia but didn't arrive until six months after the troops. "They weren't dying of bullets, they were dying of boredom," said Pettoni, MWR Mobilization and Contingency Operations specialist at the U.S. Army Community and FamiLy Support Center in ALexandria, Virginia. "[Soldiers] went over there and got everything set up. Then they waited and waited and waited. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Recreation Downrange: Army MWR Delivers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.