Redeployed warriors release healthy stress at Adventure Quest

| May 21, 2010 | 0 Comments

Platoon sergeant uses the WAQ to show his Soldiers how to confront fears

Liana Mayo
311th Signal Command Public Affairs

WAIALUA, Hawaii — An instructor teaches Soldiers about using teamwork and skill to navigate an obstacle on the High Ropes Course, 35 feet above the ground, at Camp Erdman. (Rich Robinson | Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Outdoor Recreation Center)

WAIALUA, Hawaii — An instructor teaches Soldiers about using teamwork and skill to navigate an obstacle on the High Ropes Course, 35 feet above the ground, at Camp Erdman. (Rich Robinson | Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Outdoor Recreation Center)

HAWAII KAI — The Soldier in diver’s attire lowered himself into the crystal clear water of Maunalua Bay, reluctantly leaving the deck of the Dive Barge.

It took some help and guidance from a diving instructor, as he was loaded to the teeth with diving gear and weighted down by a 45-pound tank of oxygen.

A nonswimmer, Staff Sgt. Michael Dewsbury, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, agreed to join his fellow leaders on a Warrior Adventure Quest Ocean Adventure trip to show his Soldiers he is not afraid to face one of his worst fears.

“When you’re deploying all the time, you need a way to deal with that fear,” Dewsbury said. “Strapping a tank of air on my back and jumping off a boat to try to scuba definitely did that for me!

“In the kayaking part, I learned you’ve got to face the wave head on,” Dewsbury added.

The WAQ program is offered at no charge to recently redeployed Soldiers by the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program on 30 Army bases around the world. Programs introduce high-adventure events and activities that raise adrenaline levels, allowing Soldiers to experience a similar “rush” they may have felt at times during their deployment.

In Hawaii, behavioral health liaisons are on-site to recognize any negative reactions to the high-adrenaline environment and assist Soldiers in finding healthy coping mechanisms.

HONOLULU — Staff Sgt. Michael Dewsbury, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gives a thumbs up after exploring the ocean floor, nearly 30-feet below, during an Ocean Adventure Quest in Maunalua Bay, in April, part of the Warrior Adventure Quest program. (Photo by Liana Mayo | 311th Signal Command Public Affairs)

HONOLULU — Staff Sgt. Michael Dewsbury, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gives a thumbs up after exploring the ocean floor, nearly 30-feet below, during an Ocean Adventure Quest in Maunalua Bay, in April, part of the Warrior Adventure Quest program. (Photo by Liana Mayo | 311th Signal Command Public Affairs)

“This is a good way for my Soldiers to relax and build team cohesion, to get to know Soldiers who are new to the unit, and to build trust that comes from spending time with each other,” said Sgt. Christopher Massie, Alpha Team Leader for 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Reg. “You may have worked with a Soldier for three years, but never had the chance to really get to know them. This is also great for Soldiers who are new to the island. It gets them out of the barracks.”

Soldiers can embark on three different one-day WAQ trips within their first three months after redeployment.

In the Paintball Adventure, teams can play on multiple fields and courses at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

The Ropes Course at Camp Erdman starts with a low-element course for team building, then steps it up with various challenges on a high-element course, perched between five connected towers, 25 feet and 35 feet off the ground.

The Ocean Adventure provides instruction and practical skills application in ocean kayaking, stand-up paddleboard and scuba diving in Maunalua Bay.

“As much fear as I had for drowning, and still got through it, I know any of my Soldiers can do it, too,” Dewsbury said. “I want them to appreciate how much the Army goes out of its way for them with programs like this.

“Some leaders are ‘do as I say’ leaders, but I want to be a ‘do as I do’ kind of leader,” he continued. “I had to show them I’ll at least try something I know could help me, even if I am afraid or uncomfortable at first.”

“That’s what experiencing the outdoors is all about, discovering how much fun you can have when you face your fears and let them go,” said Richard “Pete” Bautista, Outdoor Recreation program manager for FMWR at Schofield Barracks.

“The ones who resist enjoying the ocean the most are often the ones who come back,” said Sheila Jordan, captain of the Dive Barge. “My favorite part is providing that reassurance. Helping someone really makes you feel like you’ve done something in a day.”

 

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