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    Initiative to improve soldier’s well-being



    Story by Sgt. John Couffer 

    1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

    CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE KALSU, Iraq – The mind, body and spirit are of the utmost importance to the overall well-being of soldiers in combat today.

    A group of specialists in the Ironhorse Brigade have banded together to address these factors.

    The Comprehensive Care Initiative is operated and maintained by Capt. Matthew Rensberry, the surgeon for the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. It is designed for deployed and garrison environments, to improve and sustain the morale and productivity of all soldiers.

    “The ultimate goal is being able to address the overall health of the brigade,” explains Rensberry. “To be able to see us accurately, where we should be and reflect that appropriately so we can take steps to avoid situations where soldiers could get hurt when they shouldn’t.”

    Rensberry said the CCI will focus on the areas of personal health, behavioral health, spiritual enlightenment, legal representation and overall safety.

    Maj. David Stoner is the chaplain for the Ironhorse Brigade, and heads the religious aspect of the CCI.

    “We play the part of keeping a pulse on some of the counseling issues that come in,” Stoner said. “We get to see some of the issues that soldiers are dealing with that they don’t want to talk to [their leadership] about, but may have them down.”

    Stoner explained that religion is an anchor for the lives of many, and that it allows them concentrate on tasks needed to be done.
    Stoner said that soldiers usually perform better if they take care of themselves in the religious aspect.

    “It helps us to see if something that is systemic or is there something that is going on with individuals,” Stoner said. “Then we can help address the issue with the chain of command or with the individuals so we can let the commander know.”

    Rensberry explained that the overall effectiveness of the soldier’s mission is directly linked to their readiness as a whole.

    “This is one of many tools we can use,” Rensberry said. “To identify big picture trends so we can address them sooner and avoid catastrophic issues. It also gives us a handle as to the effectiveness of the tools we have in place and are providing to soldiers, such as the Resiliency Center we have here.”

    “With this tool, we can provide soldiers with the appropriate resources required for them to take care of what they need to, as well as for their units,” Rensberry said.

    “My goal for this is to have it be a useful gathering of people who see their own section of the brigade’s health,” Rensberry concluded. “To be able to come up with practical, feasible options to help guide the commander in his decision making process as the where to invest resources [for the soldiers].”



    Date Taken: 08.21.2011
    Date Posted: 08.21.2011 12:09
    Story ID: 75696

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