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CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — The commander of the 2nd Infantry Division spent part of his holidays touting an Army-wide program aimed at giving single and unaccompanied soldiers better recreational options.

Maj. Gen. John Wood told unit representatives of the Better Opportunities for Single and Unaccompanied Soldiers program that, “if we can’t have the very best BOSS program in the Army here, then we’re not trying.”

At a representative gathering last week at Camp Red Cloud, Wood encouraged use of the resources provided by Area I officials and the Installation Management Agency — Korea Region office.

“They are fully behind you,” Wood said. “You have the means here, and I have this kind of attention and focused energy on it.

“You name it and it’s out there and available to the soldiers of this division,” he said, ticking off ski trips, rafting trips and cultural events as just some the examples.

According to the Army’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation official Web site, the program began in 1989 and was expanded Army- wide in 1991. The challenge is to address all aspects of the soldier’s life: recreation, well-being and community service, the site says.

“The Army BOSS program is designed to be the collective voice for single soldiers through the chain of command,” the site reads. And at the same time, “BOSS is a tool for military personnel to gauge the morale of single soldiers regarding well-being issues … it is based on the premise that well-being programs impact positively on readiness and retention of a quality force.”

The site says 47 BOSS programs operate in the United States, 46 at bases overseas. Most bases with a population of more than 100 have programs, officials said. Unit representatives also attend an Army-wide conference to share ideas; awards are given for Best Event and Best Installion.

And officials have begun a newsletter for units to share ideas from programs around the world: http://www.armymwr.com/portal/recreation/single/newsletter.asp

Locally, officials said, that means giving soldiers more of a choice than walking out the front gate of a base, looking at a row of bars and asking, “Am I turning left tonight or right?”

“There’s something more in Korea than that,” Wood told his troops. “I am dead serious when I say I am looking for better ideas and alternatives.” The nightlife district, he said, “is fine, it serves a purpose, but it is not the centerpiece of what we need to be doing with our soldiers.”

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