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VMFA(AW)-224 gets adrenaline rush during OAR

By Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethel | | September 5, 2013

Marines with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 participated in Operation Adrenaline Rush at the North Charleston Wannamaker County Park in Charleston, S.C., Aug. 26. 
Operation Adrenaline Rush is a tool designed to introduce Marines to activities that serve as alternatives to at-risk behaviors that can have grave impacts on their lives. OAR also helps build unit cohesion, esprit de corps, morale, and communication amongst Marines.   

The activities included rock wall climbing, canoeing, paddle boarding, disk golf, archery, mountain bike riding, an obstacle course, and more. 

 “The idea behind OAR is to give Marines and sailors an opportunity to participate in different activities as a way to relieve stress,” said Sgt. Maj. Stacey Holcomb, the squadron sergeant major for VMFA(AW)-224. “The program allows Marines to find healthier ways to receive an adrenaline rush while in a controlled environment similar to the ones they felt when they were deployed.”

Staff Sgt. Herbert Evans, operations chief with VMFA(AW)-224, said this is the first time he has had the opportunity to participate in a program aimed at relaxing the body and mind after being deployed. Evans has been deployed  twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and five times in support of the Unit Deployment Program.

“It’s the perfect opportunity for us to come together and find our new normal stress levels after being exposed to the deployment setting,” said Evans. “I have witnessed and heard stories of Marines engaging in risky behaviors after returning home from a deployment. Although I have never participated in OAR before, I believe it has the power to lower risky behaviors amongst Marines returning home.” 

Marines arrived at the park early that morning, split up into groups and got their adrenaline pumping as they participated in the events. 

“When we got off the buses I couldn’t wait to get myself in a canoe,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarvis Broom, a corpsman with VMFA(AW)-224. “OAR was something new for all of us. I am happy I was able to experience it with my Marines by my side. After participating in OAR I can definitely see us come together to participate in these activities on our off time.”

Operation Adrenaline Rush is an effective tool that helps Marines transition and provides alternatives to risky behaviors, while increasing unit cohesion and better preparing the unit to face future conflicts.

“OAR is therapeutic,” said Ryan Bell, the OAR coordinator with MCCS. “It gives Marines a chance to come out, have fun, and have a good time as they learn more about themselves, their stress levels and the Marines they work with every day. OAR makes the Marines and the unit as a whole stronger and more prepared to get back into the fight.”