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