2019-02-08 / Front Page

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD

Warrior Adventure Quest contributes to readiness
Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Spc. Robert Birchall, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, receives assistance from Jawan Miller, Victory Lane Indoor Karting Center, prior to a race Jan. 31. Birchall was one of 14 Soldiers from the battalion participating in a Warrior Adventure Quest event. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Spc. Robert Birchall, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, receives assistance from Jawan Miller, Victory Lane Indoor Karting Center, prior to a race Jan. 31. Birchall was one of 14 Soldiers from the battalion participating in a Warrior Adventure Quest event. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office There is an old adage “work hard, play hard,” and Warrior Adventure Quest (WAQ) is one resource that enables Servicemembers to live it out.

Warrior Adventure Quest is a Department of the Army reset training tool, supported by Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) designed to introduce Soldiers to activities that serve as alternatives to high-risk behaviors often associated with recently redeployed Soldiers. Over the years, WAQ expanded to accommodate the needs of each installation’s Servicemembers, allowing all branches of service to participate.

The program combines MWR activities with a leader-led after action debriefing (L-LAAD) tool developed by the Army Medical Department center and school. Recent excursions hosted by Fort Gordon WAQ include skydiving, paintball, whitewater rafting, ziplining, escape rooms, and archery tag just to name a few.


Standing with their medals (left to right) are Spc. Jonathon Barsnack, 2nd place; Spc. Tyler McLendon, 1st place; and Spc. John Bernard, 3rd place. Seated is Spc. Christine Walling, who received a toilet trophy for placing last. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Standing with their medals (left to right) are Spc. Jonathon Barsnack, 2nd place; Spc. Tyler McLendon, 1st place; and Spc. John Bernard, 3rd place. Seated is Spc. Christine Walling, who received a toilet trophy for placing last. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office On Jan. 31, Lorrie Chadd, Fort Gordon WAQ program coordinator, hosted 14 Soldiers from 297th Military Intelligence Battalion (297th MI Bn.) at Victory Lane Indoor Karting Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Soldiers spent the afternoon zipping around in 9-horsepower engines racing each other around a 1/3-mile road course at high speeds. They were treated to lunch at the center’s restaurant afterwards before heading back to Fort Gordon.


Spc. Shelby Townshend, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, eagerly awaits a “go” hand signal during a Warrior Adventure Quest outing at Victory Lane Indoor Karting Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Spc. Shelby Townshend, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, eagerly awaits a “go” hand signal during a Warrior Adventure Quest outing at Victory Lane Indoor Karting Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office It was a much-needed break for Spc. Thomas Prieto, signal intelligence analyst with 297th MI Bn.

“This was really necessary,” Prieto said. “Work has been extremely stressful, specifically for this group of people, so I think this was really good to get some time off work and hang out together.”

And while WAQ clearly incorporates adventure into planned activities, the program is about much more.

“They get to know the people in their unit outside of work, which is a good thing, because you never know when you’re going to need somebody to talk to or somebody to lean on personally or professionally, so it kind of opens that door,” Chadd said.

Even though Soldiers were dealing with stress from having recently redeployed, most – if not all – of them experience similar stress due to the nature of their work.

“With these [Soldiers], a lot of it I find is they’re working long shifts, and even though they’re not deployed, they are doing things that a lot of them would be doing downrange,” Chadd said. “And being in those windowless rooms underground, it’s like the stress just builds up on them from what I’ve heard from their commanders.”

Spc. John Bernard, signal intelligence analyst, could identify with Chadd’s statement. Bernard said the trip was a “good morale boost,” and that he felt more motivated to go back to work.

“There are stressors at work every day,” Bernard said. “Everybody has a lot of stuff on their plate, so this is a good time to bond with your team, and in return, everybody’s more productive at work.”

Before heading back, all Soldiers participated in a leader-led after action debriefing and survey where they were encouraged to provide feedback about the program.

Units interested in scheduling a WAQ event should contact Chadd at 706-831-8328. Funding comes from the DA, and transportation is provided, so there is no cost to the Servicemembers.

“We’ll figure out what they’re wanting to do, whether it’s something super high adrenaline like skydiving or white water rafting, or if they want something a little more mellow,” she said.

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