By Elvia Kelly, Fort Stewart Public AffairsJuly 27, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - As the coastal Georgia heat index peaked over 110 degrees last week, Raider Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, beat the heat during a bout of games of the Warrior Adventure Quest program at Holbrook Pond Recreation Area and Campground, July 21.
The WAQ is an Army-wide program, offered to Soldiers returning from deployment. It is an avenue that helps Soldiers cope with different kinds of issues that may have developed for them while they were deployed.
“Warrior Adventure Quest is a transition for Soldiers who are coming from Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Robert Estes, WAQ recreation assistant. “We provide them with mountain biking, kayaking and paintball. It gives Soldiers other alternatives to enjoy themselves after they come back from downrange.”
Estes said that the games played in WAQ helps Soldiers decompress from stress.
“[The program] is a good way of releasing emotional stress,” he said. “Some guys come back with a little bit of PTSD. This [program] helps them decompress and relieve stress.”
For Raider Soldier Sgt. Philip Leyshon, 3rd BSB, 1st Bde., stress reduction and teamwork were his reasons for partaking in WAQ.
“We came out here today to relieve some stress from the everyday work activities,” he said. “We came out starting out with team activities.
"We played paintball then we rode mountain bikes on a tank trail only to come up and run down to the kayak team. We kayaked across the lake and then came back and did the obstacle course. The team with the best time wins, so it built a unit of cohesion.”
Like Sgt. Leyshon, fellow Soldier Spc. Micah Chavo, 3rd BSB, 1st BCT, stress relief played a role in his decision to partake in the day’s program as well as the paintball battle against the opposing platoon.
“What I like about [WAQ] is paintball,” he said. “First, it was us against the op-four guys, so we could actually get a feel for [the game]. Then, it was like platoon integrity, one platoon versus another platoon going against each other to release some stress after working with them.”
As Soldiers played their final round of paintball, succumbing to the day’s heat was not at option. Sergeant Leyshon’s mission was to beat the yellow team, he said.
Following the activities, the Soldiers were instructed to complete a survey. The survey serves as an avenue for WAQ assistants to receive feedback of the program. The program has now been extended from October to December.
“[WAQ] helps with camaraderie, teamwork and patience,” said Estes. “All together, it’s almost like a Family orientated program, in which [Soldiers] just learn to get along with each other.”