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Military ‘Man Caves'

Troops get ultimate rec zone courtesy of DIY Network

Jan. 2, 2009 - 12:00PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 2, 2009 - 12:00PM  |  
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Man Cave: (man kav) n. The ultimate indoor playground where men can be boys.

Thanks to the Do-It-Yourself Network, troops at Kuwait's Camp Virginia have just scored their own "Man Cave," a 2,000-square-foot playground complete with a state-of-the-art movie theater with stadium seating, a gaming room and a music recording studio.

More than 100 National Guardsmen and Navy Seabees volunteered to help the crew of "Man Caves," a DIY Network series starring former NFL defensive tackle Tony "The Goose" Siragusa, comedian Chris Grundy and contractor Jason Cameron, transform Camp Virginia's dated USO Center this summer into a high-tech haven for troops.

The complete makeover can be seen on "Man Caves: USO Troop Edition," which airs Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. EST on DIY Network.

Of the projects Cameron has completed in his career, "this is in the top five, probably in the top two," he said. "I just have so much respect and admiration for the troops."

The project was possible because of corporate donations and the assistance of DIY Network.

"All the man hours we put in, all the material we brought, easily would have cost 45 to 50 grand. And that is probably on the low side," Cameron said.

Among the improvements the crew made were a lounge and snack area, a gaming station with flat-screen TVs and a room for the USO's "United Through Reading" program, where troops can record themselves reading children's books for their families at home.

Among the donated gear were laptop computers, gaming consoles, musical instruments, a new movie projector and furniture. It took 20 shipping containers weighing 2 tons apiece to transfer the equipment, producers said.

Siragusa and Cameron spent a week in the Kuwait desert. "The time we were there was the hottest time of the year," Cameron said. "It was probably 130 degrees."

In one scene, Siragusa eats an omelet from a Meal, Ready-to-Eat. "C'mon," he says, after taking a bite. "You don't eat this stuff. You guys really have to eat this stuff? No wonder all you guys are so skinny around here."

"Let me assure you, this MRE is no KFC," he says. "It was the most disgusting thing I ever tasted in my life." He eventually gives up and visits an on-base Taco Bell.

In the next scene, Cameron wonders why his "hoo-ah" isn't returned by his Navy helpers. (The Navy says "hoo-rah.")

"There're a lot of calls, man," Cameron told Military Times. "You tend to forget. They had a little fun with that."

Units taking part included the 237th Brigade Support Battalion, the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the Ohio National Guard Alpha Troop 1, 126th Cavalry Squad, the Michigan National Guard Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, the Navy's Buering Training Village, the Army's Central Kuwait Task Force Aviation "Ghostriders," the Company A 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion, the New Jersey National Guard and the USO.

"From what I understand, there was a line around the corner to get in," Cameron said. "After we were done, they couldn't wait to get in there. That was a great feeling. That's really why we did this: To make sure the men and women coming out of theater had a place to relax and to give them a little piece of home."

"Man Caves: USO Troops Edition" will air on DIY Network Jan. 25, at 9 p.m. EST. Visit www.diynetwork.com/tv for details.

10 tips for the perfect ‘Man Cave'

Courtesy of licensed contractor Jason Cameron, here are 10 tips for building your own ultimate "Man Cave":

1. Take some time to walk through the space and visualize what you want your Man Cave to look like. Be realistic.

2. Pick an object (pool table, jukebox, picture) that you like and will make part of the room as your inspiration.

3. Measure your space (length, width, height) and transfer these measurements to graph paper using a quarter- or half-inch scale. The more details you work out on paper, the easier the task will be.

4. Make a list of all the materials you will need. If you're working with a budget, leave yourself a 10 percent to 15 percent allowance for unforeseen costs. There will be some!

5. Make a list of all the tools you will need. What you don't have you can either borrow from friends and family or rent.

6. If your build requires plumbing, electrical or heating/air conditioning work, contact licensed professionals for their input or services. Don't tackle something you're not comfortable with. If you hire a contractor, get a signed quote.

7. Before you start your build, make a step-by-step list of what needs to be done in order. Schedule these plans with your contractor.

8. Ask friends and family to help with the build. Try to get people with some building skills so that they might help you direct your plan of attack.

9. Set goals for yourself and your team to accomplish each step of the build in a given time frame.

10. If you hit a wall (figuratively speaking) and have a question about any aspect, go to www.diynetwork.com, or watch "Man Caves" for answers.

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