News: Strong Bonds builds resiliency in returning single Soldiers
Story by Sgt. David Edge
FORT POLK, La. – Single Soldiers redeploying can sometimes find it hard readjusting back to barracks life. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division is using the Strong Bonds program to combat the difficulties of returning to home station.
Chaplains of 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. chose to mix outdoor fun with the Soldiers natural competitive nature. The woods of Alligator Lake on March 25, 2014, became the stage for a not so friendly game of paintball between Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, along with Soldiers from 94th Brigade Support Battalion.
Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program that assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army family. The mission of the Strong Bonds program is to increase individual Soldier and family member readiness through relationship education and skills training.
During deployment members of their unit constantly surround Soldiers -- fighting, eating and sleeping within a few feet of each other every day for months. That type of closeness creates a family like bond that can be difficult for Soldiers once broken upon leaving the combat zone.
“A lot of Soldiers, when they get back from a deployment, become stressed out. Here in the woods we are able to run around and shoot at people with the paintball guns. The way the teams are set up is forcing us to use team work, but I am having fun,” said Spc. Nicholas Gaddis of Dallas, Company C, 94th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
The event wasn’t all fun and games, the Soldiers took a break from paintball to openly discuss ways to navigate the challenges that come when Soldiers return home.
“We talked to the Soldiers about how deployment changes a person. Deploying can change who you are and that is okay. Maybe you are a new person but you can find resiliency through the new person that you have become. We also talk to the Soldiers about the many resources the Soldiers have readily available to them like behavior heath and not to be afraid to ask their buddies to their right and to their left for help if they need it,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Anthony Foxworth, battalion chaplain, 94th Brigade Support Battalion of Memphis. “The Army gives Soldiers all the training and resources needed to go to war, we are making sure they have the resources they need when they come home.”
Soldiers interested in participating in Strong Bond’s events should contact their unit ministry team for upcoming dates.