Letters to the Editor

MCAS fitness center much more than a gym

A letter writer recently questioned the cost of a new gym at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. He compared the cost and use to that of a civilian gym. Many more patrons use the base gym when active-duty family members and retirees like me and their families are added to his figure.

Under orders, Marines must spend hours each week maintaining fitness, honing martial arts and other battle skills. During inclement weather, the gym is packed to capacity. Some Marines choose to train in the cold and rain anyway because, well, they're Marines.

The conditioning required of Marines to work long and hard in an always-dangerous environment aboard the base, and for months in a combat zone, is considerable. Their lives depend on it. They take it seriously.

The facility is far more than a "gym." It provides dozens of fitness and wellness programs. The gym hosts year-round intramural competitions between base organizations and from time to time even competitions between services with all the excitement and "bragging rights" that go with them.

It is a well-run morale- and welfare-enhancing operation. The benefits far exceed the cost of construction or maintenance. My wife, daughter and I are honored and privileged to use the gym alongside the outstanding young men and women serving our country. They deserve a new facility. Make it happen. Semper Fi.

Lawrence V. Francese