News: Resiliency is Army Strong
Story by Capt. Christopher Larsen
TUKWILA, Wash. – More than 30 soldiers from across the Army Reserve took part in a Master Resiliency Trainer workshop here July 29-Aug. 2.
The 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, an Army Reserve unit headquartered in Marysville, Wash., north of Seattle, sponsored the course.
The intense five-day course was designed to prepare the soldiers to go back to their units as fully qualified Master Resiliency Trainers, instructors said.
According to the Army Medical Department website, resiliency training offers strength-based, positive psychology tools to aid soldiers, leaders and families in their ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity. Training and information is targeted to all phases of the soldier deployment cycle, soldier life cycle and soldier support system.
One of the course’s instructors said the training was the best he’d received in 24 years of service.
“It teaches you to use mental cues and critical questions” to solve problems, said Master Sgt. Ken Steele of Wichita, Kan., an MRT with the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Steele said one of the benefits of the MRT course was its ‘train-the-trainer’ method of instruction.
“Once you learn, you can spread the wealth,” Steele, who has been an MRT for two years, said.
Steele said he often uses what he’s learned as an MRT in his daily life, and also shares his knowledge with others in the community.
“I volunteer with the Urban League and the Boys’ and Girls’ Club in Wichita,” Steele said. “I help the kids learn ways to manage stress.”
The Army’s resiliency program was started in 2010 to help soldiers and their families cope with everyday stresses and those that come with deployments.
The program is made up of five dimensions: social, emotional, family, spiritual, and physical.
The Army has trained more than 17,000 people as MRTs since the program began.
The programs are integrated into Army training from day one – even basic trainees receive instruction and training on how to face challenges and become more resilient.
One of the week’s students said he thought the training would be of great use in everyday life.
“There’s a lot of value to bring back to the unit,” said Sgt. John McSweeney, a warehouse supervisor with the 483rd Quartermaster Company, Marysville, Wash.
“When I heard about [the training], I thought, ‘we have to have this in every platoon,” said McSweeney, who is the 483rd’s unit administrator in civilian life.
“We have three students here this week,” he said, “and we’re going to work together to implement the training.”
McSweeney said the best thing he’d learned in the training is how to connect thoughts to their consequences.
“It teaches you how to analyze the correlation between the two, see the consequences of your actions, and how to overcome them,” he said.
“I personally needed this, and knew I could use it to help my soldiers,” McSweeney added.
Army officials have said the campaign promotes physical and psychological fitness and encourages personal and professional growth.
According to program leadership, resilient soldiers, family members and Army civilians perform better, which results in improved unit readiness and better lives.