On a beautiful Sunday afternoon when the temperature barely reached 82 degrees and the slight breeze made the cloud spotted sky a perfect day at the pool in Minot ND, this reporter caught up with some Minot AFB swimming pool goers to find out what they enjoyed the most about going to the pool.
Married couple A1C Elise Day-Barnett, 891 MSFS, and her spouse Mckenzie were spotted soaking up the sun and working on their tans. The couple said they are pool regulars for the past two summers and come whenever the weather is nice and Elise is not posted out. They admitted that they love it and only wish that the pool offered a diving board and kept the music on during adult swim, which is the last 15 minutes of every hour in which kids are asked to get out of the pool to rest and let the adults have a few minutes to swim without getting splashed. The couple seemed to be enjoying their kid-free time in the pool as they tossed a Nerf football around.
AF spouse Lyuba West brought her three young children, ages 3, 6 & 9, to the base pool for the first time that day. When asked, she said she was enjoying herself and the kids were having a blast. She liked having the kiddie pool option, but only wished that they had a splash pad section to enjoy as well. Lt Col Brandon Wheeler, 5 OG, and his wife Lisa brought their 3 children to enjoy the beautiful summer day as well. The Wheeler family has been stationed at Minot for just over a year and has admittedly visited the base pool over a dozen times. They love the large pool slides so much and honestly said that when the slides were closed for repair in late summer 2021, they didn’t visit much. The Wheelers loved how well-maintained the pool is and that they can come for just a short time at a time without feeling like they need to stay all day because it is free.
When asked, none of the people interviewed had sampled any of the food at the pool’s newly-opened Snack Shack. In fact, the Wheelers even admitted that they were not aware that it was open at all. Head Lifeguard Gabriel Leys, age 20, told the Northern Sentry that the Snack Shack, located off to the side of the base pool, is open and serves an assortment of food including hot dogs, pizzas, drinks and cold treats like ice cream and popsicles. If a pool guest would like to order food, the guest would need to go to the lifeguard shack and alert a guard of the order. Leys also asks that pool guests be patient with the guards as legally there has to be 1 lifeguard for every 25 pool guests. On hot, busy days, when lifeguards are at their peak, the pool capacity can be reached rather quickly and this is what causes the occasional lines for entry outside the facility.
The refreshing pool is one of the base’s most popular summer activities and that is evident by the numerous visitors throughout June, July and August. This amenity is available for base residents at no cost all summer long too. While most other bases have to charge entry fees for users, the Minot AFB pool is FREE because of the remote nature of the location. The pool is open Wednesday through Sunday 12-7pm for Open Swim and exclusively on those days from 11-12pm for lap swim only. The pool may be forced to close due to weather or temperature changes, as outside temperature must be at least 65 degrees and water temperature must be at least 75 degrees. The pool will stay open until mid August when most of the lifeguards return to school. On any given day, while the pool is in operation, it is common to see families and Airmen alike enjoying this Minot AFB summer perk.