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Outdoor Recreation: a break from the mundane

Paintball helmets sit on display at the Outdoor Recreation Center

Paintball helmets sit on display at the Outdoor Recreation Center Jan. 23, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The center provides recreational activities such as paint ball, scuba lessons and archery tag. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier)

Water flows through a deep canyon along a hiking trail

Water flows through a deep canyon along a hiking trail July 14, 2019, in Adana, Turkey. The Incirlik Air Base Outdoor Recreation Center provided tours for U.S. members assigned to the installation. (Courtesy Photo)

Flowers grow out of the cliff side near the Varda Bridge

Flowers grow out of the cliff side near the Varda Bridge July 14, 2019, in Adana, Turkey. The Varda Bridge is also known as the James Bond Bridge after it was featured in the 2012 film “Sky Fall”. (Courtesy Photo)

Scuba gear is seen during a training class

Scuba gear is seen during a training class Jan. 23, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Scuba lessons are offered every Wednesday at the base pool as a recreational activity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

Imagine the edge of a canyon cliff side speckled with wild flowers. Cool fresh air fills the sky above a beautifully constructed bridge spanning across the width of the canyon. A small trickling stream glistens in the sun at the very bottom.

What may seem like a scene out of a movie is now a reality for Airmen at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, thanks to the 39th Air Base Wing Outdoor Recreation Center and efforts from the 39th ABW leadership.

Since April 2019, ODR has been conducting off-base tours in order for Airmen to get a taste of Turkish landscape and culture, and the feedback is positive.

“Most people I talk to back in the United States think Turkey is a desert and it’s not!” said Senior Airman Christopher DeFilippis, a broadcast engineer from American Forces Network Incirlik, “It’s gorgeous, it’s got beautiful greenery, the mountains are huge and it’s just beautiful.”

The tours are broken up into two locations with a lunch period at the end. Eating lunch off base gives Airmen a cultural culinary experience they don’t get every day.

“We stopped by a Turkish restaurant off base that was phenomenal,” said DeFilippis, “It was great to try something new for a change.”

It’s positive experiences and feedback like this that gives ODR the support to make bigger and better changes to the program.

Murat Sertekin, ODR manager, says he has big plans in the future but it might take time before they come into fruition.

“Maybe one day you know?” said Sertekin, “Baby steps.”

In addition to off-base tours, ODR conducts multiple on-base activities including archery, paintball and scuba lessons to give Airmen a break from the mundane.“I think ODR plays a very important role in morale,” said Sertekin, “instead of playing video games, you can come to ODR to see what is possible.”

If you looking for something different, DeFilippis talked about the ease of signing up and his experiences with ODR as a whole from an Airman’s perspective.

“It was definitely an easy process, it’s based on a first come first serve basis,” said DeFilippis, “The guys who work at ODR are extremely knowledgeable on all the areas, they knew the history behind each area as well as being able to easily guide us though the tours.”

Even though ODR has things planned for the future, Sertekin and his team are always focused on the present. Go to ODR today and see what’s in store.