Drill Hall fitness director walks the walk

Hunter Vinson, director of Fitness, Sports and Aquatics Programs at NAS Patuxent River’s Drill Hall.

Hunter Vinson has been active his entire life, and he’s bringing that passion to the Drill Hall.

As the new Director of Fitness, Sports, and Aquatics Programs, Vinson is responsible for developing and overseeing all programs related to Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR) fitness, intramural sports, and aquatics at NAS Patuxent River.

“This includes working with the team at the Drill Hall and throughout the installation to make sure the athletics services offered to our patrons are the best possible quality we can provide,” said Vinson, who came onboard in October 2020.

Vinson has participated in sports ever since he was a child and took physical fitness seriously while playing high school football, and again as a college athlete.

“I played college football as a walk-on defensive back,” he noted. “Now I play rugby and run Spartan races in my spare time. Physical fitness is still important to me.”

It was while he was attending the University of Tennessee that Vinson started working for the Navy as an intern, primarily as a fitness specialist/group exercise instructor.

“From there, I took a position as an Afloat Fitness Specialist, also known as a ‘Fit Boss,’ on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69),” said Vinson, whose five years aboard “Mighty Ike” included three deployments. “I was responsible for all things fitness related, like exercise classes, equipment repair and maintenance, programs trainings, and PFA implementation. It was extremely fulfilling, but the days were long and it was many months away from the U.S.”

Back on shore at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Vinson spent five more years abroad before deciding to return stateside, arriving at Pax River with more than 10 years experience working for Navy MWR; and he’s ready to get things going.

“This has been a very challenging year for all of us due to circumstances out of our control [because of COVID-19],” he said. “I want to move forward with providing safe, effective programs for our patrons with any mitigation we may have to implement. Then, I want to offer a wide variety of services to our members that can help them be fit, get in shape and have fun. We are looking to maximize all available space in the Drill Hall for athletics.”

When asked how he likes the area so far, Vinson says he’s loving how green everything is.

“Spain is beautiful in its own right; the environment here in Southern Maryland is completely different, yet beautiful just the same,” he said. “The people have been friendly, and the Drill Hall facility – while older – has some great equipment and provides unique opportunities for new ideas. I’m looking forward to my time here.”

Currently, the Drill Hall is open to Active-Duty/Reserve personnel and their dependents only, and they must utilize the reservation systems in order to access the facility. Reservations are limited to two per day and five per week. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sunday.