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Warrior Quest replaces rush of combat
New Army program uses extreme sports
Sgt. Tanya Siatuu
Sgt. Tanya Siatuu bursts into laughter Thursday as she kayaks on Holbrook Pond. It was Siatuu’s first kayak experience. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
A cluster of brightly colored kayaks glides over Holbrook Pond’s sun-streaked surface, sending foamy sprays of water into the air and showering the boats’ occupants with cool droplets. Each splash elicits gales of laughter.
A yelp pierces the perimeter forest as a soldier teeters and plunges through the ponds’ glistening waters.  
“Man overboard!”
Pfc. Donte Hill emerges, his waterlogged T-shirt, shorts and black Nikes weighing him down as he rolls his boat over and tries to climb back in.
He fails.
The boat flips again and Hill’s vain attempts are met with more giggles.
 With a little help from the others, he lifts himself back into the kayak and the group paddles back to a grassy patch on the shore.
Hill is one of the first to reach land.
“My battle buddies out here wanted to play battleship and take on the new guy to the group so they flipped me over a few times,” he said. “The hardest part was getting back in, but it was fun. I enjoyed it.”
Hill and his “battle buddies” are members of HHC, 4th Light Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Infantry Division.
Since returning from Iraq in December, the 4th LBCT is the first unit of soldiers assigned to Fort Stewart to participate in a pilot-program called Warrior Adventure Quest, which was implemented by the Army in September.  
Recreation specialist Christopher Den explains the program’s purpose.
“It’s an opportunity for soldiers redeploying from Iraq and Afghanistan to come out and participate in some high-adventure activities and to show them that we have outlets here at MWR (morale, welfare and recreation) to help them relieve their stress and adrenaline needs when they get back from a combat zone,” he said.
“The soldiers out here today will participate in six activities,” he said. “They will include kayaking, mountain biking, geo cacheing, rock climbing, paint ball and skeet shooting. All of which are available to the soldiers through MWR.”
Fort Stewart is the 5th military installation to participate in WAQ since it began.
 Army reports indicate that planning is under way to bring the $7 million program to approximately 20 more Army garrisons by the end of the year in hopes of having every Army BCT, more than 80,000 soldiers, participate in the WAQ within 90 days of redeployment from a combat zone.
Dent is not sure whether current funding will allow for the program to continue at Fort Stewart.
“Right now, we do not have the funds for my staff to run every brigade through this program,” he said. “However, we are hearing good things from the soldiers and the division is looking into it.”
Hill said he hopes the program will become a staple on the post for redeploying soldiers.
 “We’ve been a family together for the last 15 months and I think it is a good idea to give us the opportunity to get together, break away from the monotony of things, get away from the stress and let us have one last time together to just to have fun,” he said. “It’s a great idea.”

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