FORT BLISS, TEXAS – Soldiers at El Paso’s Army base enjoy a high quality of life, spending time with family, friends and enjoying the city’s many cultural offerings, in between strenuous training sessions, some soldiers said.
“Living on base allows my family to be closer together,” said Sgt. Alon Humphrey. “You know, do things, instead of being separate, we actually do things together.”
Among duties conducted by Army personnel is a fast-paced training called Sling Load. During this training, each group of soldiers learn how to attach a large missile gun to a helicopter all while in the middle of a sand storm and loud helicopter noise and downdraft. It’s nearly impossible to see anything while in the midst of a huge dust cloud.
While this group of soldiers are in the middle of their practice, the rest of them are waiting for it to be their turn. But they’re not just sitting there doing nothing. They are out in the heat, getting sunburned, with their faces splattered with dirt, and in their long sleeve uniforms acting like nothing is bothering them.
“I know that a lot of things are very convenient,” said Sgt. Apryl Bowman. “We don’t have to pay extra taxes on things, you know there’s a lot of things to do like swimming pools, library. There’s so many programs that are going on in the library. Theres a lot of training, a lot of workout areas. So being on post is very, very convenient.” she said.
Bowman, who has been in the Army four years, is also another fan of having free time on base and enjoying the perks of being stationed in El Paso.
Besides her love for working and conducting trainings on post, Bowman enjoys working out.
“I actually go to a gym that is here on Fort Bliss. So whenever I have a long day, I get off, go to the gym, work out, and I just sweat out whatever stress, any problems, anything that I might be worried of,” Bowman said.
But other soldiers such as Isaiah Garcia, who is a U.S. Army private, said there’s nothing more to do here other than spend time with friends and eat.
“Pretty much I just like to, you know, hang around, explore a little bit of the El Paso community. All there really is on base is basically fast food.” Garcia said.
But the most important thing to him is the access that he has to hands-on experience while at a desert setting. “Well it helps out in the field, it helps gain more knowledge of what my job is about. Being around all the equipment, it’s a lifestyle.” he said.
“There’s always something going on every weekend, so Fort Bliss, Texas has that weather where you could just come up here and enjoy it.” Bowman said.
Humphrey said that Fort Bliss will be unforgettable for him.
“The overall family feel that El Paso and Fort Bliss has, so, I’m all about family. And that’s why I will definitely have a place, for El Paso and Fort Bliss in my heart.” he said.