Marines Relieve Stress Through Paintball


Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. -- Imagine for a second that there was an organization that existed for the sole purpose of allowing Marines to participate in cool high energy activities such as mountain climbing, paintball, and kayaking to help Marines de-stress when returning from a deployment and to teach them the signs and behavior of Marines with dangerously high stress levels.   Most people would agree that an organization such as this one is not only interesting, but necessary, whereas others would still find it cool to pop shots at their upper echelon leaders during a paintball match.   “Operation Adrenaline Rush Program combines Combat and Operational Stress Control Principles with an outdoor recreation adventure activity to aid in mitigating boredom and high-risk behavior of recently deployed Marines,” said Amanda Littlejohn, MCCS representative for the program. The purpose is to assist Marines in re-integrating by empowering small-unit leaders, maintaining combat readiness, reinforcing unit cohesion and contributing to an improved climate perception.”

Marines from Marine Corps Air Station New River’s Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron got a firsthand experience with the program, participating in paintball, as well as receiving some important information about the effects stress can have if it goes unattended.   “Too much stress can impact an individual and affect unit readiness,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Thompson, coordinator of the OAR trip. “Marines never come home the same way after a deployment and stress can lead to Marines snapping on junior Marines that usually would just require guidance, so we can all see how this would detract from unit cohesion and readiness.”  

The Marines traveled to the location where they would play paintball, geared and ready to go, excited for the opportunity to place a few paintballs in the direction of their superiors.    During the event, the Marines were able to participate in various forms of paintball, choosing between playing in a large wooded area with trenches and plenty of cover, a simulated urban area including cars and two story buildings, or a small speedball area with very little cover.    After the Marines were satisfied with all of the high energy activities of the day, they sat down and talked about the benefits of the program as well as how they felt afterward.   During the large group discussion the Marines expressed their opinions about the program, most with the general consensus that the program allowed them to not only have fun, but also to alleviate some stress.   “Over all this was a great experience,” said Thompson. “Not only can you use this in your daily lives, but it’s also easy to see how these types of activities, done regularly, would build up your level of stress tolerance, the unit cohesion and moral was boosted.”

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