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FOX Sports Pitches In To Support Warfighters Abroad

Thursday, July 22, 2010 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 1:32 AM, under

Most of us have a pretty easy work life. We come onto our offices to do our work, and at the end of the day we go home to our families and lives. Our warfighters (soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen) in theatre do not have that luxury. Many are in a war zone and there is no other way to describe what they deal with: it sucks. So when an organization like FOX Sports can step in and help make their environment better, it is a win all around for everybody. Such was the case at an undisclosed Air Force base in Southwest Asia last month.

Fox Desert Eagle: A pre-construction rendering of the FOX Sports Sky Box lounge that opened Friday, June 25, 2010 at an undisclosed Air Force Base in Southwest Asia. Photo Courtesy FOX Sports/Department of Defense.

FOX Sports and the United States Department of Defense collaborated to build a 5,000 square foot, state-of-the-art FOX Sports Sky Box lounge at the air force base that serves as home to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. The facility opened to serve the men and women of the U.S. military on June 25, 2010.

The idea was born last fall during FOX NFL SUNDAY’s unprecedented trip to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan to celebrate Veteran’s Day.  Once Terry Bradshaw, Curt Menefee, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan, Jay Glazer, along with FOX Sports executives and staff visited with base personnel, they were shown to the base’s Desert Eagle Lounge. A facility outfitted for practicality, everyone in the FOX Sports party agreed that our servicemen and women deserved something more special.

Support for Our Warfighters: Lt. Col. Michal Holliday, 379th AEW Civil Engineer Squadron commander; Lt. Col. Paul Kopecki, 379 AEW Support commander; and Brig. Gen. Stephen Wilson, 379 Air Expeditionary Wing commander. Photo Courtesy FOX Sports/Department of Defense.

“After flying 14 hours last November, we had one last stop before getting to Bagram,” said FOX NFL SUNDAY co-host and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw speaking for the group.  “After touring the base and meeting a bunch of great people, they brought us to the base lounge to wait, and it was pretty basic.  I mean, it gets the job done in a no fuss, no muss way, but we all agreed that the guys and gals fighting for our country deserved something better.  Then we learned that the Air Force planned to re-do the place, so we hatched this idea.”

“World-class is how I'd best describe the Department of Defense’s first FOX Sports Sky Box,” said Brigadier General Stephen W. Wilson, 379th AEW commander.  “It's absolutely fantastic, and we can't thank FOX Sports enough.  This whole project went from concept to reality in just a few months, and this is the crown jewel of sports venues in the Southwest Asia. Hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who rotate through here every year will enjoy it.”

No Slackers Allowed: Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron prepare to put up the sign for the new FOX Sports Sky Box at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Photo Courtesy FOX Sports/Department of Defense.

The renovated lounge now mirrors a FOX Sports Sky Box, the network’s unique sports bar concept designed to cater to the insatiable appetite of sports fans.  The DoD’s Sky Box has a 25 foot-long bar, seating for over 200, pool tables, a patio with seating for 60, customized murals and art, and entertains visitors with a premium sound system and 24 42-inch flat screen televisions.  FOX Sports donated the franchise license and all the equipment, materials and design-work, while hundreds of Air Force personnel on three different bases on two continents contributed to its construction.

“When we mentioned a pending project on the Desert Eagle Lounge, they thought it was a perfect fit for a FOX Sports Sky Box,” said Lieutenant Colonel Paul Kopecki, 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron commander.  “They offered to donate all the furniture, fixtures and equipment, murals, wall art and the sound/AV system so this would look just like a state-side franchise.”

Thousands of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, DoD employees and contract personnel living and transiting through the base to or from forward-deployed locations across the Central Command area of responsibility will be able to benefit from the air-conditioned facility.

A Team Effort: Construction and support team members of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing recently gather to celebrate the completion of the new FOX Sports Sky Box lounge in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Photo Courtesy FOX Sports/Department of Defense.

“The FOX Sports Sky Box is a great reminder that corporate America still cares and supports our troops, and this place is fantastic,” added Lt. Col. Kopecki.  “When sitting in the Sky Box, watching five or six different sports at one time, our service-members are going to feel like they’re back home in the favorite sports bar.”

The FOX Sports Sky Box in Southwest Asia was designed by Jennifer Reynolds, principal of the Ideation Design Group.

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