WIESBADEN, Germany - Soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan remember the various ways the U.S. Army strove to ease the transition back to a garrison environment. The intent was to streamline the redeployment process, reduce stress and to quickly reintegrate service members back into their "normal" lives.
One of the tools military leaders used to help Soldiers readjust after (and before) serving in harm's way was the Warrior Adventure Quest program. The "reset training tool" was designed to introduce Soldiers to life leisure skills such as Outdoor Recreation's climbing, mountain biking and other "high adventure" activities to serve as alternatives to possible negative behaviors such as drunk driving or other extreme risk taking.
"It used to be just for redeploying units, but it has been changed to serve deploying, redeploying and non-deployable units to build esprit de corps and to give Soldiers more life leisure skills," said Jason Bennett, a programmer with Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation.
Besides encouraging teamwork and communications, the program is meant to "show members of a unit that they can rely on their battle buddies for leadership and support" whether in a combat environment or back at their home base, Bennett said. "Now it's more about team building -- providing things such as paintball, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and climbing … things that they can use later on in life to deal with stress."
Members of Alpha Company, 24th Military Intelligence Battalion, took advantage of the program Aug. 18 by spending a morning at Outdoor Recreation's McCully Barracks Paintball Range. The adrenaline flowed as individuals teamed up to splatter color on their comrades while "doing battle" on the paintball range.
"This is entirely NCO driven," said Capt. Amelia Rutkowski, Alpha Company commander, explaining that Sgt. Jared Campbell contacted Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation with the idea of combining monthly Army Warrior Tasks training with resiliency training.
"This translates to what we do as Soldiers and as a unit," said Campbell while fielding after-action comments from members of the unit. … The purpose of this is to build esprit de corps. That's what this is about -- you're going to be put in situations where you need to know that you can trust and rely on someone else -- your brothers (and sisters) in arms. You guys worked together as a team."
The level of interest and follow-on comments showed that the Warrior Adventure Quest opportunity was well received, Campbell said. "I think that they responded a little more than we expected. There definitely was an increase in morale, and their excitement showed that they wanted to be here."
Comments ranged from "It was a lot of fun and helped us move under fire and communicate better" to "It was pretty awesome" and "It helped us work together as a team … a good learning experience."
"I want to see if I can pitch this to the battalion to get more people involved," said Campbell. "We should use these resources. I hope to do this again."
"I've already told my fellow company commanders about this opportunity," added Rutkowski.
Members of units interested in finding out more about Outdoor Recreation's Warrior Adventure Quest program can stop by Building 1043 on Clay Kaserne or call DSN 548-9801.