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 June 11, 2010


181st conducts Master Resilience Training

“An effective Soldier is trained with the skills necessary for the mission, such as first aid and weapons expertise. In addition to these tactical proficiencies, Soldiers have to be prepared for the emotional and mental stress of being deployed away from home,” said Col. Michael Todd, 181st Infantry Brigade Commander, as he kicked off a May weekend Master Resilience Training (MRT) course at Fort McCoy.

PHOTO: Soldiers and Family Readiness Group members from the 181st Infantry Brigade at Fort McCoy participate in Master Resilience Training. Contributed photo
Soldiers and Family Readiness Group members from the 181st Infantry Brigade at Fort McCoy participate in Master Resilience Training.

The MRT sessions, led by Master Resilience Trainers, Chaplain (Capt.) Raymond W. Leach and 1st Sgt. Herbert Cornett of the 181st, trained battalion leaders and Family Readiness Group (FRG) representatives on MRT concepts and skills.

The course teaches the principles of MRT to develop and strengthen Soldiers’ personal resilience. “The workshop gives people a new perspective for coping with everyday problems,” Todd said. “It is not intended to train individuals to be resiliency training professionals, although it might help us to point individuals in the right direction when encountering a crisis.”

The MRT program is not about what’s wrong with you, it’s about learning how to make better use of your own strengths by teaching better stress-coping, communication and resiliency skills, he said.

Prior to this training, Leach had provided one hour of resilience training to each of the battalions in the brigade, touching briefly on material similar to that in the MRT course.

The Phase I training provided 20 Soldiers and FRG reps tools that build the following core competencies: self-awareness, self-regulation, optimism, strength of character and connections. These tools, which are the skill foundation of the MRT course, include the Activating Event/Thought/Consequences Thinking Method, Identifying Thinking Traps, Avoiding Icebergs, Problem-solving, Energy Management Tools, and Putting it into Perspective.

According to Leach, “MRT is a powerful tool to help Soldiers keep their focus and remain positive during an intense and prolonged conflict environment.”

Leach added, “This program targets growth and self-awareness that will pay off in improved unit cohesion, teamwork, communication, a positive work environment, optimistic attitudes, professionalism and self-control.”

In addition, these tools not only help Soldiers and Families at home, but help leaders establish a “mission-first” attitude while maintaining the priority of “Army Strong” Soldiers and Families, Leach said.

In describing the benefits of MRT, Leach said, “The more we work these concepts into the fabric of the Army, whether it be through MRT, Strong Bonds, or some other program, the more resilient our force and Families will be.”

“Response from the program was overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “In all, we have received a 95 percent positive response rate from our first MRT class on their written after-action reviews.”

Examples of responses were, “This course is training Soldiers and others to help themselves,” “MRT is problem-solving techniques and beyond,” and “It’s fun!”

The intent for the future at the brigade level is to offer this training on a regular basis over the next several years to help shift the culture into one that is foundationally and fundamentally more resilient, Todd said.

(Story & photo submitted by 181st Infantry Brigade Public Affairs Office.)

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