By Spc. Daniel Stoutamire, 2nd HBCT Public AffairsFebruary 3, 2010
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Soldiers from the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, honed their battle skills and worked off some stress by playing paintball Jan. 21 at Building 7224, as part of the Warrior Adventure Quest program.
About 25 members of the battalion's Company C participated in the paintball event, which is part of a larger effort to promote fun, safe ways of releasing pent-up adrenaline during working hours, as opposed to engaging in risky behavior during off-duty hours.
Overall, WAQ - an Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program - introduces Soldiers to high-adventure outdoor recreation activities such as skydiving, rock climbing, mountain biking or skiing, and combines it with Battlemind training. The goal' Allow Soldiers to experience high-risk activities in a safe, controlled environment.
At the Fort Riley facility, the Soldiers first listened to a safety briefing and then received their protective gear before breaking up into two groups.
Each group split its playing time between the two paintball "arenas" on the first and second floors. Soldiers on the first floor competed against each other in two-person teams, while those on the second floor were divided into two teams of about six each, allowing them to experience different types of simulated combat.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Schiessl said the event was important for his Soldiers.
"It does two things: we get a lot of training - personal courage, movements under fire, all that stuff," Schiessl said. "Also, it's a good way to relieve stress and do something fun and cool. Soldiers join the Army to do cool stuff."
Schiessl, who has been in the Army for seven years, said the experience also made him think about ways he can become a better noncommissioned officer and leader.
"This made me realize that I need to get a stress outlet for the Soldiers, to make things like physical training more fun by getting away from just doing a bunch of pushups - do something more fun, like rolling tires for example. Just put adventure in the every day Army lifestyle."
Staff Sgt. Josh Fulcher echoed Schiessl's sentiments.
"It's a way to refresh skills we already had and relieve stress in a safe environment," he said. "All my Soldiers loved it."
One of those Soldiers was Pfc. Matthew Henry, a Fort Gibson, Okla., native.
"It was a good bonding experience," said Henry of the event, "especially for those people who haven't done it before - it gives them a little courage."
"It definitely stings a little bit when you get hit, though," he added with a grin.
Schiessl, Fulcher and Henry were all in agreement that the event was a great way to spend their day and believed it should become a more regular part of their training.
"The Army needs to do more of this," Schiessl said. "All Soldiers want adventure - the more adventurous things we can do, the better."