Smiling faces were seen all across the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade’s Soldier Field as the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment hosted a junior and family obstacle course Aug. 23.

This was a team building event, and it allowed the kids to get a taste of the training their parents go through with a fun twist, said Lt. Col. Bill Dowling, battalion commander.

The event consisted of a series of obstacle courses that were meant to simulate soldier skills, but on an easier level so the children of the unit would be able to participate. The kids, some with the help of parents, low-crawled through a combatives pit under an entanglement of yarn, practiced their aim by squirting water guns and throwing plastic balls at targets, navigated through “hot-lava” to carry an object from one spot to another, and worked in teams to accomplish a mission.

“Children learned teamwork. Adults learned teamwork. Everyone was working together,” Dowling said.

Children of all ages were able to participate, and each obstacle could be made easier or more difficult depending upon the age of the child. Colored yarn tied on the wrists of the children told scorers of each event what age group the child was in, and the children were given points based on how well they executed the event.

Prizes were given to the top three children in each age group after everyone was done navigating all of the obstacles.

“The kids were running around and laughing; you could tell it was a success,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Correa, the officer in charge of the event.

Spc. David Alvarez, an Avenger repair specialist from the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, had his two young girls, Diana and Victoria, participate in the morning’s activities.

“They were exhausted the entire time, but they were loving it,” Alvarez said.

It was also a great experience for the children to be able to see the similarities in what they were doing and how their parent’s train to learn certain skills, he said.

The unit’s soldiers, spouses and volunteers had been working to put this event together for just short of a month, Correa said.

It was a great time to be able to incorporate the families in a unit activity, Dowling said, and thanks to the soldiers and volunteers “this was a first-class event,” he said.

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