|A pilot Warrior Adventure Quest program held at Fort
McCoy in June trained 150 Soldiers from the Illinois Army National Guard
how to handle post-deployment stress.
A Soldier from the Illinois Army
National Guard participated in a rock-climbing event as part of
the Warrior Adventure Quest pilot program conducted through Fort
McCoy’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and
Recreation. The event was held at Chimney Rock Park near
Friendship, Wis. (Photo by Jeff Utesch)
Pam Budda, Outdoor Recreation and Sports Director for the Fort McCoy
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR), said
the goal of the program, endorsed by the Department of the Army and
sponsored by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, is
to mitigate high-risk behaviors following deployments.
Events included zip-line, rock climbing, ropes courses, paintball,
kayaking and canoeing. These high-adventure programs simulate adrenaline
experienced during deployment and teach Soldiers a safe outlet to
experience their “new normal,” Budda said.
Other aspects of the program also trained leadership to continue to work
with Soldiers back at home stations, focusing on individual and unit
resilience that normalizes physical and emotional reactions, vertical
and horizontal bonding, cohesion and esprit de corps.
Budda said the program consisted of events that ran three to four hours.
The Soldiers also received Comprehensive Soldier Fitness training in a
different venue to provide an all-around, in-depth experience.
“Overall, it was a very good experience for the Soldiers,” Budda said.
“We are looking forward to continuing to offer the program.”
Budda said Soldiers reacted positively to the pilot program.
Post-training input indicated Soldiers liked the team building and the
team work needed for the events of the program, which would benefit the
unit after it is deployed.
The support and positive feedback received from fellow Soldiers during
the event helped the Soldiers complete the tasks at hand as well as
showed the participants they had each other’s “back,” which is critical
during a deployment, one Soldier commented.
Another respondent said Soldiers had an opportunity to talk and work
with helping people he did not interact with very often outside the
event. A Soldier summed up the program by saying it would be a great
program to attend after a deployment.
Budda said the program is geared toward Soldiers returning from combat
and returning from their first block of leave, usually 60-120 days after
“Fort McCoy will offer the course for any unit,” Budda said.
For more information about the program, call 608-388-6461 or