Bliss Soldiers get ‘BOSSED’ around

Spc. Gregory Anderson, left, vice president of the Fort Bliss Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael O’Brien, right, get settled in for a photograph at the anchor desk at the NFL Network studio during the BOSS Veterans Day weekend trip. Courtesy photos.

Spc. Gregory Anderson, left, vice president of the Fort Bliss Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael O’Brien, right, get settled in for a photograph at the anchor desk at the NFL Network studio during the BOSS Veterans Day weekend trip. Courtesy photos.

By Sgt. 1st Class Michael C. O’Brien, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment:

Anaheim, Calif. – Soldiers enjoyed a 4-day Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers sightseeing adventure in and around Anaheim, Calif., during Veterans Day weekend.

Highlights of the trip included a whale-watching cruise, motorcycle rally, and excursions to amusement parks, all the while soaking up the famous Southern California sun.

“I had a heck of a time, because I wanted to get out of the local area and back into experiencing different parts of the country,” said Spc. Gregory Anderson, vice president of the Fort Bliss BOSS program.

Some of the group attended the Strength in Thunder motorcycle rally, which started at the Orange County Harley Davidson Dealership in Irvine, Calif., and rode forty miles to the Hacienda on the Lake restaurant in Chico, Calif. At the dealership, they met celebrities from the popular television show, “Sons of Anarchy” and “Real Housewives of Orange County.” The event had a distinct military feel because the non-profit veteran’s group Strength in Support and the Los Angeles Film School were sponsors. The restaurant provided a free lunch courtesy of the film school and free music from a live rock and roll cover band.

Spc. Gregory Anderson, left, vice president of the Fort Bliss Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael O’Brien, right, broadcast team NCOIC with the 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, get a bear hug from Michael Irvin, a Hall of Fame former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst during the Fort Bliss BOSS Veterans Day weekend trip to Anaheim, Calif.

Spc. Gregory Anderson, left, vice president of the Fort Bliss Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael O’Brien, right, broadcast team NCOIC with the 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, get a bear hug from Michael Irvin, a Hall of Fame former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst during the Fort Bliss BOSS Veterans Day weekend trip to Anaheim, Calif.

“It’s good to get out of Dodge (City, Kan.) and have no stress for a couple of days,” said Sgt. Steve Dent, a tank gunner with 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.

A few of the group enjoyed free admission to Knott’s Berry Farm Amusement Park because the park was letting in active-duty service members for free. The BOSS Soldiers rode the roller coasters and many other rides “on the house.”

“I have buddies in the area, so I got to hang out with them for the whole weekend,” said Staff Sgt. Patrick Molin of Fort Bliss’s Warrior Transition Battalion, and a Vacaville, Calif., native.

A few Soldiers sailed the high seas during a whale-watching trip. Although they unfortunately did not see any whales, they did see many dolphins.

“The highlight for me was surfing with new friends at the Huntington Beach Pier,” said Spc. Jessica Maloney, a satellite communications operator-maintainer with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Armored Division.

Spc. Harrison Nichols, satellite transmission operator-maintainer squad leader with Special Troops Battalion, 4the Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is all smiles while displaying his patriotism by holding American flags during the Strength in Thunder motorcycle rally in Southern California during the Fort Bliss BOSS Veterans Day weekend trip.

Spc. Harrison Nichols, satellite transmission operator-maintainer squad leader with Special Troops Battalion, 4the Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is all smiles while displaying his patriotism by holding American flags during the Strength in Thunder motorcycle rally in Southern California during the Fort Bliss BOSS Veterans Day weekend trip.

Over the weekend, it appeared the adventure-goers formed many new friendships and Soldiers promised to see each other on future BOSS outings.

The Anaheim trip cost $200 and included transportation via four 15 passenger government vans and lodging at a Disneyland-area hotel equipped with an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi and a complimentary breakfast.

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