- WAQ is free to units; funding has been provided by the Department of the Army and the Family & MWR Command.
- Programs are focused at Platoon Level (during duty hours).
- On-post WAQ programs can be customized, but generally are available for 5-30 Soldiers and consist of 1 outdoor activity in 6-hour time blocks.
- Off-post WAQ activities are available for 5-30 soldiers depending on schedule. Off-post activities include: indoor Rock climbing, Skiing, SCUBA, Canoeing, and more.
- All equipment and instruction is provided by Outdoor Recreation and/or activity facility.
- Helps strengthen Soldiers resiliency and builds strong bonds that will last throughout deployment (pre deployment).
- Mitigates common high risk behaviors (post deployment).
Throughout the year, units who wish to participate in WAQ will have the opportunity to take part in various activities offered through Army Outdoor Recreation. These activities include:
For specific dates and details, contact Army Outdoor Recreation and ask for details. Also, don't miss the various outdoor education experiences and instructional programs for those who want to learn more about the outdoors offered through Army Outdoor Recreation.
So keep your eyes open for these activities during the year!
Units wishing to participate in the WAQ must contact and coordinate with Outdoor Recreation in advance. Once registered, an adventure calendar/schedule will be provided. For more details and to register, please contact:
Army Outdoor Recreation, Baumholder Community
Smith Barracks, Bldg. 8167
Commercial: +49 (0)678-36-7182
Army Outdoor Recreation, Kaiserslautern Community
Pulaski Barracks, Bldg. 2905
Commercial: +49 (0)631-3406-4117
- Unit Responsibilities & Eligibility
Unit Designated Training Coordinators will contact the Baumholder Warrior Adventure Quest point of contact (POC) to schedule their units for activities. He will provide the calendar of activities and potential dates for units to select from. Activities are provided at a first come first-served basis.
Execution: Target train/ready units within 120 days of deployment, 120 days of redeployment, and units with no impending deployment (limited to 1x participation every 2 years).
Group Size: Team, Platoon or Company Level (5-30).
Activity Duration: Duration will vary depending on which activity is chosen. All activities will be held Thursdays during regular duty hours.
- Provide Unit Action Officer to serve as POC for coordination with Outdoor Recreation to schedule activities and dates. The reservation is finalized with completion of an Activity Commitment Form.
- Conduct unit briefing prior to attendance: Information on why the Army is providing WAQ.
- Provide 5-30 Soldiers per WAQ event. Participants must stay for the whole event.
- Participants must complete soldier resiliency training online prior to event and post-experience survey at the end of the event.
- Provide at least two SGT or above to receive L-LAAD training (training conducted by ODR staff).These Soldiers will conduct the L-LAAD, at the conclusion of the WAQ activity.
- Units are eligible for WAQ funding pre/post deployment. Non-deploying units are eligible once every 24 months.
- All transportation requirements to the pickup point fall upon the unit. Please consider this when selecting which activity you choose.
- Five Phases of WAQ
Phase I, Leader Training, is for all SSG and above participants and teaches them how to facilitate a Leader-Led After Action Debrief (L-LAAD) in response to a significant event in an operational environment.
Phase II, teaches these unit leaders how to utilize the same L-LAAD technique when facilitation surrounds an outdoor adventure activity.
Phase III, Soldier Training, presents to all program Soldier participants concepts like personal readiness and resilience and Combat Operational Stress Control, and how they relate to the Warrior Adventure Quest program.
Phase IV, is the outdoor adventure activity (e.g., paddling, riding, climbing, etc.) where team building is combined with challenging activity skills.
Phase V, is the actual facilitation of the L-LAAD by the unit leaders with their unit members to realize connections between the activity they have just experienced and the challenges they may be experiencing in their daily lives.
- WAQ Background
According to the Army Times, "As of October 2007, 186 Soldiers had died in accidents within one year of returning from combat, 168 of them within the first six months after they returned. Sixty percent of the accident fatalities are sergeants or below. The overwhelming majority of the accidents involve high speed, alcohol or both." Are these deaths due to thrill seeking? Brain injury? PTSD? It appears that the Army thinks the majority of these deaths may be due to the former, regardless the army has recognized they have a problem and are taking steps to fix it.
In 2008, WAQ or "Warrior Adventure Quest" was originally designed to support "Reset". Since January 2009, the WAQ program further developed to assist Soldier re-integration, empower small-unit leaders, maintain combat readiness, and rebuild unit cohesion. WAQ programming in reset is targeted to platoon-sized units within the first 120 days of their home-station return. As of EOY FY13, WAQ has supported 6,038 platoon-sized elements or 150,942 Soldiers
Today, WAQ is designed to help soldiers adjust from their war time lives that were fast paced and packed with adrenaline, by combining high-adventure outdoor recreation with "Battlemind " training to help soldiers re-adjust to a calmer paced lifestyle.
The high-adventure acts to entice soldiers to participate, and helps them get that adrenaline rush they are craving in a safe, controlled environment. " Battlemind " on the other hand is an Army psychological resiliency-building program that helps soldiers recognize and respond to fear during combat, then mitigate the cumulative effects of a sustained combat environment and become mentally prepared to reintegrate during the redeployment, post-deployment and reset portions of the deployment cycle."
WAQ is offered at no cost to the units. Funding has been provided by the Department of the Army. All units are now eligible for participation. Non-deploying units can attend once every two years. Units who are 120 days prior to deployment or 120 days after deployment can also attend during that time frame.
All WAQ activities will take place Monday-Friday during regular duty hours.
Warrior Adventure Quest is a Leader and Soldier Program designed to support RESET. The objective of WAQ is to create a sustainable, enduring program that Army leaders recognize as a viable means to assist soldier re-integration, maintain combat readiness and increase unit cohesion. Each activity will be followed by a Leader -Led After Action Debriefing (L-LAAD). This is designed to draw similarities between the high adventure activity and their Warrior experiences. This portion will be conducted by unit leadership (Team Leader, NCOIC, Commander, etc.) The designated facilitator will need to meet with a WAQ representative prior to the event. WAQ representatives will teach the leaders to conduct L-LAAD briefing.
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who gets to participate in WAQ?
WAQ is conducted in Platoon-level groups within the first 120 days after return to home station garrison (sometimes referred to the post-honeymoon period). The program avoids the stigmas of treatment identification by including all platoon members rather than selected Soldiers. This approach has aided significantly to horizontal and vertical bonding, increased esprit de corps, and improved cohesion among participating units. When WAQ expands in 2014, all Soldiers active in the ARFORGEN train/ready pool will qualify to participate in WAQ.
2. Is there cost to the Soldier for participating in WAQ?
No, the program is centrally funded through IMCOM G-9. Meals are usually not provided through the WAQ program so units must make arrangements for box lunches, etc. At some locations, units may be asked to assist with coordinating necessary transportation to get Soldiers to/from the activity site. Because this is a unit training program, TMP support for the unit is authorized.
3. Is the WAQ program mandatory?
No, WAQ is a commander's tool and therefore the commanders determine if the program will be mandatory for their Soldiers. EXORD 09-019 mandates WAQ to be provided at garrisons that support redeploying Soldiers when their Commander decides to use available WAQ resources in their RESET (and eventual train/ready) schedule(s).
4. Why was the WAQ program developed?
Army Leadership recognized a need to help transition soldiers from a combat environment to a normal society environment upon their return from deployments. According to a U.S. Army Combat Readiness / Safety Center (USACRC) report, research specifically examining post-deployment motor vehicle and personal injury accidents recounted (as of Oct 07), "186 Soldiers died within one year of returning from deployment. In fact, almost 30% (50) of these Soldiers died within the first thirty-day post-deployment and 63% (118) died within 180-days of return. Additionally, 60% of our Soldiers involved in fatal accidents were grade (Sergeant) E5 or below (while) 40% were our senior leaders" (2007). The premise of WAQ is that when adventure programs are offered to Soldiers in a supervised and safety-conscious environment, they serve as a stimulating alternative to self-destructive behaviors, an outlet for stress, a vehicle for team cohesion, and a tool for coping with the transition back to a non-combative environment.
5. Who endorses the WAQ program?
In Mar. 2008, WAQ was vetted by an Integrated Process Team (IPT) of Army medical, psychology and behavioral health, social service, religious, and safety professionals. Representative organizations were Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG), Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), Army Medical Dept (AMEDD), Combat Readiness & Safety Center (CRC), Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), Army National Guard Bureau (ARNGB), Army Reserve (USAR), and the Army Center for Enhanced Performance (ACEP), Special Operations Command (SOC) Psychology Dept, Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Chaplain, and Family Morale Welfare Recreation Command (FMWRC).
6. What is the L-LAAD?
The leader-led-after action debrief (L-LAAD) was initially developed by Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Center & School as a debriefing technique to address traumatic events in an operational environment. With WAQ, the emphasis is more in response to a dramatic event in a recreation environment, but the techniques (L-LAAD stages) transfer seamlessly.
7. Is WAQ supposed to be a therapeutic program?
No – Yes – No: WAQ works in a somewhat covert manner. The most common word used by Soldiers when describing the program is "fun". The Soldiers enjoy the camaraderie and interactions with each other as they share the challenges (and even entertainment) of the activity. The group discussions during the L-LAAD transpire among their peers and fellow unit members. This combination of elements (getting people involved in a structured activity out of their comfort zone, team-work and dynamic problem solving, guided yet informal communications, in a relaxed and fun environment) provides fuel for introspection, circumspection, and responsiveness to others (each other) – all key components of most therapy or intervention practices – all while just having fun.
8. My unit went through WAQ after our last deployment and during the L-LAAD we talked about how this would have been good to do before our deployment. Will WAQ open up for that?
Yes. Due to responses like this, WAQ is now testing to support train/ready force pool within the ARFORGEN. Our plan is to expand WAQ to all train/ready pool units beginning sometime in FY14. Under RESET, WAQ program emphasis is on mitigation of dangerous behaviors. Under Train/Ready, WAQ program emphasis is on team building and unit cohesion.
9. How do I get my unit signed up to participate in WAQ?
Contact your garrison HQ office, FMWR office, or Outdoor Recreation operations center.
Warrior Adventure Quest
Outdoor Recreation - Baumholder Community
|Monday||10 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Tuesday||10 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Thursday||10 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Friday||10 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Saturday||10 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Sunday||10 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
Outdoor Recreation - Kaiserslautern Community
|Monday||9 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Tuesday||9 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Wednesday||9 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Thursday||9 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Friday||9 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Saturday||9 a.m. - 2 p.m.|
What is Warrior Adventure Quest?
Warrior Adventure Quest (WAQ) program is endorsed by the Department of the Army under executive orders for all units pre and post deployment. Activities are designed to re-create the adrenaline rush of combat in a safe, supervised, controlled environment. WAQ builds cohesion, maintains combat readiness and helps Soldiers reach a 'new stage of normal' by diminishing boredom and high-risk behavior. Soldiers will be able to draw similarities between the activity and their combat experiences.
Each activity will be followed by a Leader-Led After Action Debriefing (L-LAAD) designed to help Soldiers recognize similarities between the high adventure activity and their warrior experiences. This portion will be conducted by a unit leader/facilitator who will be trained beforehand by a WAQ representative.