News: Masters of resilience strengthen Korea
Story by Mark Abueg
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Resilience may mean different things to different people. But for those in the U.S. Army, resilience is about having the ability to cope with adversity and adapt to change in such a demanding profession.
That's because being a soldier isn't a nine-to-five job. When soldiers take off their uniform for the day, they are always on duty throughout the night.
That is especially true in the Republic of Korea, where soldiers are ready to "Fight Tonight," and continue to strengthen the alliance between Korea and the United States of America.
But resilience just doesn't apply to soldiers. Army family members and civilians must have the ability to persist in the face of challenges and to bounce back from hardship.
Resilience took center stage for more than 90 soldiers, civilians and family members from around the Korean peninsula as they completed the Master Resilience Training course in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 4-15.
The 10-day MRT course is the foundation for training resilience skills and serves as one of the pillars of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.
"I actually asked to go through the course because I believe in resiliency and think that it is a valuable thing for soldiers to have," said Staff Sgt. Patricia D. Dolan, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP), Bravo Company, 532nd Military Intelligence Battalion at Camp Humphreys. "I'm actually excited that the Army is pushing this so much because soldiers need it."
During the MRT course, Dolan became immersed in a set of skills and techniques that build resilience, and then taught how to help others in the Army cope with adversity, perform better in stressful situations, and thrive in life.
"I've always believed that it's important to take care of soldiers," Dolan said. "To look out for them, and then to make a connection with them and try to understand where they're coming from to motivate them and keep them going. So for me, I always wanted that, and now I have the tools to do that effectively."
Since 2009, the Army has been helping its workforce maintain healthy minds and bodies essential to individual and unit readiness by providing training through the Army Master Resilience Trainer course.
"Master Resilience Training is life skills that we bring to the soldiers, especially after years of war," said Anthony Gantt, an operations coordinator and training manager for Science Applications and International Corporation. "We try to help them communicate better with family members. We try to help them work through adversities that come up in day-to-day life and help them cope."
Students go through three components of the course to include preparation, sustainment and enhancement. Along with teaching resilience skills, the MRT course introduces other resilience concepts that Army personnel will encounter throughout their careers.
"We realized that this was a way of helping the soldier to be balanced," Gantt said.
Gantt pointed out that MRT is not just for soldiers, but family members and DA civilians may volunteer for the course to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of resilience.
"This training is absolutely amazing," said Kenyetta Whitesides, spouse of a soldier assigned to the 65th Medical Brigade, and also a volunteer with the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan's Army Community Service. "I've learned so much about resilience. It will allow me to teach soldiers and spouses on how to communicate and what to do when they're facing challenges in the workplace or in their personal lives because this class teaches you resilience. You have the ability to know what to do when you're faced with the difference challenges that come in your life."
MRT graduates are instructed to work with their unit leadership to teach a dedicated block of MRT instruction on a regular basis, which is critical to program success, and ensures the widest dissemination of the material within units.
"The training challenges the more stringent leaders in being flexible mentally," Gantt said. "Having that mental agility and becoming flexible in their thinking."
There are over 18,000 MRT graduates worldwide according to Gantt.