Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Ruth Pagán
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Running from tree to tree, ducking and dodging, the Soldiers’ adrenaline pumped with the excitement of trying not to get hit with paintballs; this was not just another day in the office.
Soldiers from Company A, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, participated in the Warrior Adventure Quest at Fort Carson’s Turkey Creek, Sept. 28.
WAQ is an Army training tool designed to introduce Soldiers to coping outlets or resiliency methods through adrenaline-pumping activities to achieve an equivalent type of “rush” that they may have experienced while deployed.
“While Soldiers are deployed, they experience high level of stress for an extended period of time; we are trying to give them a way to get their adrenaline levels up in a positive way, so they aren’t going out and getting drunk or getting into fights,” said Ryan Sullivan, recreation assistant with Fort Carson’s WAQ.
WAQ offers an array of activities for redeploying units to choose from, at no expense to the Soldier, such as rock climbing, paintball, ropes courses, skiing, zip lines and white-water rafting.
The “Rough Riders” chose to participate in paintball.
“Today, all they have to do is show up,” Sullivan said. “We provide their markers (paintball guns), their masks, all the paintball rounds, all the gear they need and we have an air refilling station to fill the markers.”
This program gives Soldiers the opportunity to get acquainted with a new interest.
“I think it’s a good thing they supply all the equipment and all the gear needed,” said Staff Sgt. Ronnie Biggers, platoon sergeant, Company A. “This gives (Soldiers) an introduction to a hobby they could pick up on their own, and it allows them to do something that is a fun outdoors activity, so they aren’t just sitting in their barracks room.”
The program is beneficial for Soldiers on a personal level as well.
“The whole unit gets cohesion and they learn to interact with each other again,” Biggers said. “It’s a good thing; a good experience.”
“These guys have just gotten back from a yearlong deployment so they are here to decompress and have some more camaraderie with each other,” said 2nd Lt. Amanda LaSarge, platoon leader, Company A. “It is well deserved for them; they did a great job downrange.”
Soldiers said they appreciated the break in routine.
“It was fun and very exciting,” said Pfc. Roger Zelada, motor transport operator, Company A. “I really appreciate this a lot; it’s nice to give Soldiers a break once in a while.”
“This really allows them to get away from work and their usual schedule so they can wind down,” Sullivan said. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to come out and play for a few hours?”
The paintball game is an event sponsored by the Warrior Adventure Quest program for redeploying Soldiers as a way to help with reintegration.