News: Comprehensive Soldier Fitness important addition to Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program
Story by Sgt. Christina Dion
ORLANDO, Fla. – In an attempt to help soldiers, families and civilian employees deal with sustained operations, and everyday stressors, the 81st Regional Support Command implemented the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness training into the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Nov. 17-18 in Orlando, Fla., at the Rosen Plaza Hotel.
“Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is a long-term strategy that prepares the Army community, including all soldiers, family members and Department of the Army civilians, not only to survive, but also to thrive in the face of protracted warfare and everyday challenges of Army life,” according to the CSF website csf.army.mil. “The Army established CSF to increase the resilience and performance of soldiers, family members and DA civilians. CSF trains specific mental and physical resilience techniques in order to increase physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family fitness.”
Teaching the class was Thomas White, a human resources specialist with the 81st RSC. White said the class is about learning about each person’s 24 character traits which include leadership, trustworthiness and compassion.
Learning to recognize character weaknesses and focus on improving them will help with stress as well as help people work with one another, he said.
As an example, White told the class about a significant event that occurred in his life where he reflects on how he could have reacted differently to change the outcome of a situation.
One day, while White was in the Master Resiliency training class, he said he received a call from his 15-year-old son’s school and the administrator explained to him that someone had knocked his son out.
“Once they told me who it was, a kid in the neighborhood … my son is 6’ 4” and this kid is about 5’4. My first thought was what did my son do? My son either bullied him or did something really bad for this kid to hit my son,” he said.
When he asked his son about the incident, White said he did not believe what his son told him.
“I don’t know, dad,” White's son said.
“I said you had to do something. No one just comes out and hits you,” White said was his reply. “I said, ‘you’re lying.’”
After seeing the video footage, White said he felt very bad.
“The other student was running in the hall way. My son wasn’t even in the frame at the time. And the kid went to go hit (the exit sign) and came down on my son.”
“My first thought was negative and it fueled my action. And I was wrong. It took me a while to recover from that because now my son was called a liar and he honestly didn’t do anything wrong,” said White. “That incident taught me a valuable lesson. I have to take a look at things in a different perspective. That’s where we go wrong here in the military.”
“First thing, when we get upset there is a trigger. This is the active action. Our thought is our reaction. Once we have that thought, it can either go good or bad,” said White. “(It’s) How we think about actual events.”
“When you go overseas and you are gone for a year, you come home and things change. You have kids and they’ve gotten older. You come back, you might be a little bit more independent or a little more aggressive. Your family doesn’t understand. What the resiliency does for you guys and your families is to teach you a different method to deal with it,” said White.
Although the family members are not in the military, they are the ones who spend the most time with their soldiers, said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Baker, commander of the 429th Multifunctional Medical Battalion in Savannah, Ga. “The key is to teach (CSF) to families. I think with the Army Reserve, families and employers see us more than our military soldiers do.”
The Army is taking a new approach to the tragedy of suicide by offering classes on resiliency through the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program. The goal is to change the way Soldiers think, react and live, said Jeff Vaughan, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Branch Chief with the 81st RSC.
Baker and White agree that “fitness is mental, physical, nutritional and spiritual.”
“Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness is a long-term, enduring initiative that broadens the assessment and training of every member of the army beyond the standard physical and technical abilities,” according to the website csf.army.mil. “Psychological strength, like physical strength, does not just 'happen' - it must be trained, practiced and refined. With eleven years of demanding ongoing deployments and a high operational tempo, coupled with the health of the force issues that we face today, a focus on comprehensive fitness has become a readiness mandate.”
This work, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness important addition to Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, by SGT Christina Dion, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.