Kentucky Army Guard resiliency program boosts relationships and teamwork

Staff report

120125-A-GN092-033

Comprehensive Soldier fitness is defined as a structured, long term assessment and development program to build the resilience and enhance the performance of every Soldier, Family member and Department of Army civilian. Whether you're training for wartime deployment to Afghanistan -- as with these members of Agribusiness Development Team 4 -- or tending the home fires, resilience is an essential element in mission success. (Photo by Sgt. Scott Raper, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Army National Guard recently strengthened its resiliency campaign by offering the resiliency training assistance course to 2nd Battalion 75th Recruiting and Retention command.  The training was coordinated and executed by the synchronized efforts of the state’s new resiliency coordinator, 1st Lt. Robert Cooley and Staff Sgt. Eric Vincent.   Sgt. Jose Salazar, Kentucky’s new resiliency coordinator assistant, was also instrumental in accomplishing the training mission.

The inaugural class consisted of Capt. Steven Strack, 1st Sgt. Michael Brown, Master Sgt. Bradley Harlan, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Schneider and Sgt. 1st Class Charles Miller.  All students hold key leadership positions throughout Kentucky and were pleasantly surprised by the course content, practicality, and relevance to Soldier life.

“Utilizing this training will help boost the relationships and teamwork of our organizations,” said Schneider.

RTA Class

The cadre and class of the Kentucky National Guard's inaugural resiliency training assistance course: 1st. Lt. Robert Cooley, Sgt 1st Class Paul Schneider, 1st Sgt. Michael Brown, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Miller, Master Sgt. Bradley Harlan, Capt. Steven Strack, Staff Sgt. Eric Vincent and Sgt. Jose Salazar. (Photo courtesy 1st. Lt. Robert Cooley, Kentucky Army National Guard Resiliency Coordinator)

The 28 hour course consisted of a identifying and explaining the six core competencies, which are the foundation of resiliency training:  self-awareness, self-regulation, optimism, mental agility, strengths of character and connection.  Once the foundation is set, the trainers launch into training that teaches students over ten skills and philosophies designed to strengthen the aforementioned competencies, reduce stress, create positive successful thinking, and strengthen teams/relationships.

The program was christened by General George W. Casey Jr. Chief of Staff of the Army, in late 2009 with the purpose of being a commander’s tool in helping with the myriad challenges we all face every day.

According to Casey the program “is designed to bring mental fitness up to the same level that we give to physical fitness. In this era of persistent conflict, we’ve found that the vast majority of Soldiers deploying have a positive growth experience because they’re exposed to something very difficult and they succeed. Our goal through Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and Resilience Training is to ensure all Soldiers have the skills to grow and succeed.”

“When I agreed to come to resilience training I was a little unsure of the content and benefit of the training,” said Brown.  “After receiving the training I realized that this is a valuable asset that all leaders should attend at some point in their career to make them a more competent leader.

“This class taught me how to cope with different situations within my job description and in my personnel life whether dealing with Soldiers or my family.  As a company first sergeant I have already identified some Soldiers within my company that would benefit from this training and will recommend them to attend in the near future. “

Major Tim Stark

Resilience at work. “Resiliency has an immeasurable amount of value to offer Soldiers and their families,” says Capt. John Harvey, officer in charge of the Kentucky Guard's Resilience, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention programs. (Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Yellow Ribbon Program)

Capt. John Harvey is in charge of the Resilience, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention programs for the Kentucky Guard.

“Resiliency has an immeasurable amount of value to offer Soldiers and their families,” he said.   “With the current effort to get the training out, resiliency will soon be a living, breathing skill set utilized by the Guard from the top down.  Coupled with the increased momentum of training, studies have recently been released proving that the resiliency program is making a difference throughout the ranks of our force.”

Harvey cites an Army report released last month covering a 15 month period of statistical evaluation where the study evaluated global assessment tool scores of eight randomly selected brigade combat teams. Four received the training and four did not. Over the 15 month period, scores of the four teams receiving the training were significantly higher than the others, irrespective of other variables, such as unit leadership and cohesion.

“We’re coming to a town near you,” said Cooley, Kentucky’s Resiliency Coordinator.  “And we’re looking for your support to help make the Kentucky Guard a force to be reckoned within the goal of becoming a more resilient Army National Guard. “

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