Story by Chuck Cannon on 08/23/2019FORT POLK, La. Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk leadership broke ground on an artificial turf field next to the installation's Home of Heroes Recreation Center at a ceremony Aug. 19.
Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank, commander, JRTC and Fort Polk, said the new field would provide Soldiers with the opportunity to showcase both their athletic abilities during sporting events, as well as an even playing field when taking the Army Combat Fitness Test.
"Our Soldiers are good athletes, but they need facilities to ensure they maintain that edge," Frank said.
Frank said that as the Army transitions to the ACFT, facilities like the artificial turf field are needed.
"One of the six new events is going to be a sled pull," he said. "The best field you can have for that event is an artificial turf field. This location is going to have a lot of activity from our Soldiers and our units."
Frank said another artificial turf field is planned for the old Cabin Circle area of Fort Polk, to balance out physical training areas on either end of the primary locations where the installations conducts PT.
Frank next gave those in attendance a brief history lesson on Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
"When MacArthur was asked what kind of a leader he wanted in his formations, he always said, Give me a West Point football player,'" Frank said. "MacArthur's linkage to great Soldiers and leaders in the formations he would have in World War I and World War II, was directly tied to athletic ability, and the ability of the Soldiers to withstand the pressures of the modern day battlefield."
Frank said that preparation starts at 6:30 a.m. each morning when Soldiers participate in physical training.
"We often don't make the connection to the battlefield, but the battlefield starts here at Fort Polk and JRTC each morning at PT," he said. "This field means a lot to our Soldiers and what our nation may ask of them."
Loretta Nale, directorate, Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said the new field is a great opportunity for Soldiers to have a facility that will allow participation even in inclement weather.
"It will be consistent no holes in the middle of the field," Nale said. It's another asset for Fort Polk to attract Soldiers to the installation."
Col. Ryan Roseberry, Fort Polk garrison commander, said the artificial turf field is about readiness.
"This field helps ensure our Soldiers are ready for combat and to take the new ACFT," Roseberry said. "Our Soldiers need a facility like this to be able to train."