MWR survey finds Area I soldiers in South Korea pining for paintball
February 19, 2005
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Paintball is the recreation most craved by Area I soldiers, according to a Morale, Welfare and Recreation survey aimed at curbing human trafficking and prostitution in South Korea by providing more popular base-sponsored activities.
MWR’s December “Stop Human Trafficking and Prostitution” survey asked soldiers at various recreation facilities in Area 1 — Warrior Country — about the types of MWR leisure activities they would like to see.
Of about 13,000 soldiers in Warrior Country, more than 1,200 responded to the survey. Of those, almost half chose paintball — in which players, using military-style tactics, shoot each other with paint-filled balls — as their most desired leisure activity. About four in 10 of those who responded wanted a go-cart track or more concerts, survey results showed.
Paintball used to be offered at Camp Boniface, near the Demilitarized Zone, but is not currently available on any Area I base, said Col. Jeff Christiansen, Area I commander.
The survey also showed that despite the Army’s best efforts to keep soldiers on-post during their free time, two out of three prefer to socialize off-post. Six of 10 soldiers cited getting away from their post as the top reason they visit off-post establishments, the survey showed.
The lack of women at on-post clubs was the most common complaint about the facilities, with about four in 10 soldiers citing it as a “dislike.” Three in 10 soldiers complained about smoking bans in on-post clubs.
Food was the No. 1 reason — cited by four in 10 soldiers — for visiting on-post clubs, the survey showed. On-post clubs serve American-style meals and fast food, something harder to find at Area I’s off-post clubs. The slot machines at post clubs hold little interest for soldiers, with only 17.5 percent saying they use them.
More than half of the soldiers play pool at recreation centers and four in 10 attend comedy or movie nights, the survey showed. Poetry appeared to be a niche activity at the centers, with only about one in 10 soldiers participating, the survey showed.
Shopping trips were the most popular MWR tours (preferred by just more than half of soldiers), followed closely by Korean cultural tours, the survey showed.
Sports grills were the most popular types of restaurants among those surveyed. Mitchell’s club at Camp Red Cloud will become a sports grill under renovations to Area I clubs recently announced by the Army. Few soldiers are interested in soup or salad restaurants, the survey showed.
MWR’s responses to the survey results include upgrading Area I clubs; re-engineering the MWR tour program to create packaged tours with multiple opportunities; partnering with local promoters to increase the number and types of entertainment, shows and activities for soldiers; getting more house bands; and establishing an MWR recreation complex that might include a rollerblade facility, batting cage and remote-control car track, according to written material provided with the survey results.