News: The will of the Wild Boars
Story by Sgt. Eric Provost
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan– “The will to train, the will to fight, and the will to win.” That’s the mantra of 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Wild Boars.”
Willpower is a focal point for many goals the battalion sets for itself. Recently on Forward Operating Base Fenty, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, the unit began a nine-week series of classes created to strengthen the will of its soldiers. The classes are called “Wild Boar Will.”
“It kind of blends resiliency training with learning to just be a good citizen,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Karl Fratzke, senior enlisted leader of Company B, 2nd Bn., and native of Wimberley, Texas. “It really benefits a lot of our younger soldiers who might not have been shown a lot of this stuff. It leans on the knowledge of a lot of the more senior members of our organization.”
Fratzke serves as an instructor for the positive thinking class. Each week the battalion focuses on a different area. There are classes for positive thinking, goal setting, anger management, crisis management, nutrition, physical fitness, finance and more.
“All the stuff we’ve learned so far has all been really good. I think everyone should use it,” said Spc. William Webster, rifleman, Company B, 2nd Bn., and a Salem, Ill., native. “It can help you build a better lifestyle.”
Many of the lessons taught in the Wild Boar Will class are geared toward helping soldiers reap long term benefits. They learn how to work toward life plans in the goal setting class and how to manage debt and create personal budgets in the finance class.
“(I’m) definitely going to take a lot of the positive thinking stuff and tell some of my friends back home,” said Webster. “It’s definitely something they could use. Finance is a big thing I’m going to take back, especially with a lot of my friends starting to buy houses now.”
The 2nd Bn. doesn’t just teach the classes so its members can think about how they’re going to use the lessons when they get home.
Combat stress among soldiers returning from deployment can manifest itself in a number of destructive ways such as drug and alcohol addiction, depression, and even suicide.
The classes intend to fortify the soldiers of 2nd Bn. with the tools they’ll need to manage stress during their deployment and focus on something more positive.
“I would have loved to have given my company the positive thinking class the last time we were in Afghanistan,” said Fratzke. “With all the situations we found ourselves in, the soldiers weren’t mentally prepared.”
The lessons from the program have already inspired change in the unit. Some of the battalion platoon sergeants have now mandated goal setting worksheets be incorporated into monthly counselings with soldiers.
“The classes are good,” said Webster. “They should definitely keep them going. As long as they continue to go I think the guys will be better off.”