Warrior Adventure Quest: Helping Soldiers adjust to garrison
March 16, 2011
WIESBADEN, Germany - Gearing down a high-powered sports car abruptly can cause major damage to its well-designed engine.
The same is true for Soldiers returning from downrange with a heightened state of intensity to the calm of home.
This is a current reality for 1st Armored Division troops in Wiesbaden who are using the Warrior Adventure Quest Program to make the gradual shift.
"You're going from 100 mph to 30 mph," said Staff Sgt. Jorge Sierra, Company A, 1st AD G2, who has deployed to Iraq four times since 2003 and took part in a recent session of WAQ paintball with his unit at the Rheinblick Recreation Complex in Wiesbaden.
The program is a welcome alternative for the 10-year veteran who remembered how his units were affected after deployments before the existence of WAQ.
"It seems like we had a lot more Soldier issues because there weren't things to look forward to," said Sierra. "There really wasn't much to do. You had to kind of be creative. These programs really help to keep issues at their lowest levels."
The program fuses high-adrenaline and high-intensity sporting activities with leader-led debriefing tools to teach Soldiers coping skills for managing combat experiences with the hope of decreasing the likelihood of non-battle injuries or deaths.
The program has been successful so far in Wiesbaden as more than 350 Soldiers have cycled through the program facilitated by Outdoor Recreation.
"It introduces them to a program they may not have been aware of as a healthy outlet for relieving stress," said Shelly Hake, Wiesbaden ODR director, who said she has seen firsthand the effect WAQ activities has on Soldiers after participating. "They feel empowered afterwards."
Units can contact ODR at mil 337-5760 to schedule such activities as paintball, indoor shooting, bouldering, skiing, snowboarding or mountain biking.