By Michael M. Novogradac, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs

BELTON LAKE OUTDOOR RECREATION AREA, FORT HOOD, Texas -- Tactical fun took care of the Monday-morning physical fitness training doldrums for a group of Soldiers at the Warrior Adventure Quest paintball course here.

Billed as a team building exercise, 16 U.S. Army Operational Test Command Soldiers opted for the morning of fun, followed by a picnic lunch.

"I saw it as an opportunity to meet new people I haven't met before, and to have a good time," said Capt. Hope Williams, OTC's human resources officer.

With OTC for only five months, Williams said she knows every Soldier on paper, but hardly anyone in person.

Paintball rounds move at 285 feet-per-second, or nearly 195 miles-per-hour.

"The paintball rounds hurt!" said Williams with a laugh. "It's a time to relieve stress and get away from the office."

Unit 1st Sgt. Claudia E. Barros said she saw unit members coming together well.

"It didn't matter which directorate you work in," she said. "Out here, you were OTC -- you were either on the orange team or the blue team."

Barros said after a little chaos during the first obstacle, her Soldiers were shooting and communicating well, but most of all -- shooting a lot of paintball rounds confidently.

Another Soldier had his own adventure entirely; getting hit with paintball rounds on top of his head, inside both thighs, and his arms.

Not offering any excuse for the multiple hits, Sgt. Matthew R. Watson, security NCO, said, "I was a slow moving target because of a previous partially-torn ligament and a ruptured tendon in my ankle from playing volleyball.

"Because I was moving downhill, I was looking down, and the round hit me on top of my head."

Shantell Bogues, recreation assistant for the Warrior Adventure Course, said the course is booked through June and halfway through July, but August is open.

Units interested in subjecting themselves to the grueling paintball courses can call 254-317-5350.

The main number at BLORA to see what other kinds of fun is offered, is 254-287-2523.

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The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas and its mission is about making sure that systems developed are effective in a Soldier's hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers offer their feedback, which influences the future by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems that Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight with.