1. Who gets to participate in WAQ?
Warrior Adventure Quest is a free resiliency training for Army units. All units are now eligible for participation. Units are now eligible every 365 days regardless of deployment status. This new update makes Army Reserve Units eligible as well.
2. Is there cost to the Soldier for participating in WAQ?
No, the program is centrally funded through IMCOM G-9. Meals are 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 deploying and redeploying units.
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-days 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.
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 supporting train/ready force pool within the ARFORGEN. 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?
Warrior Adventure Quest POC | See available WAQ trips here.
2023 UPDATE! Units are now eligible every 365 days regardless of deployment status. This new update makes Army Reserve Units eligible as well.
WAQ combines existing MWR Outdoor Recreation high adventure activities (e.g. rock climbing, mountain biking, paintball, scuba, ropes courses, skiing, zip lines, white water rafting, and others) with a leader-led after action debriefing (L-LAAD) tool developed by Army Medical Department (AMEDD) center and school. Warrior Adventure Quest (WAQ) is an Army RESET training tool designed to introduce Soldiers to activities that serve as alternatives to aberrant behaviors often associated with accidents involving recently re-deployed Soldiers. This tool presents coping outlets to help Soldiers realize their own new level of normal after deployment and "move on" with their lives.
Year Round: Paintball, Trap/Skeet Shooting, Indoor Rock Climb, Indoor Skydiving, Archery Tag
Summer: White Water Rafting, Stand Up Paddleboarding, River Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Sea Kayaking, Summiting Mountains, Outdoor Rock Climbing, Fly Fishing
Winter: Glacier Exploration, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Alpine Ski Touring
Some activities are limited by the number of participants and vendors operating hours.
The WAQ program has been developed into five phases:
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 Soldier participants concepts like personal readiness, resilience and Combat Operational Stress Control. These are related through the Warrior Adventure Quest program with an online training resource listed below.
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.
For more information visit https://www.armymwr.com/programs-and-services/outdoor-recreation/warrior-adventure-quest.