Stepping Toward a More Resilient Air Guard

  • Published
  • By MSgt Janeen Miller
  • 143 AW/PA
Quonset Air National Guard Base, North Kingstown, Rhode Island - During the week of April 6, 2015 the Rhode Island Air National Guard took the initiative to train Resilience Training Assistants (RTA) from each unit within the 143d Airlift Wing, 282d Combat Communications Squadron and 102d Network Warfare Squadron. While typically the Air National Guard does not have RTAs, I, as the Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) for the RIANG, decided that this was the only way the important resilience training would reach all of the Airmen. I attended the Master Resilience Trainer Course at Joint Base Maguire, New Jersey in September of 2014. While I was there I was floored by the quality of the training and realized the importance of relaying the Comprehensive Airman Fitness resilience training to all of the Airmen and families of the Rhode Island Air National Guard. However, there was very little guidance in place as to how a guardsman was supposed to get that done. Not only do we have very little time with our traditional guardsmen but I still have my primary responsibility as the Public Affairs Superintendent, leaving very little time for me to get the training out to the base populous outside of Wingman Day. At Active Duty Bases there are several MRTs and also RTAs available to ensure that the training is reaching all Airmen all the time. In the Air National Guard we are authorized one MRT with no guidance on RTAs. I did not think that that was acceptable.

With the support of Colonel Walter, Commander, 143d Airlift Wing, I contacted a counterpart from the Master Resilience Course I attended at Maguire. Technical Sergeant Luis Torres from the 4th Fighter Wing Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is, according to Mr. Richard Lambert, Community Support Coordinator for the 4th FW, "one of the 4th Fighter Wing's most outstanding MRTs!" and was willing to take time from his busy schedule and family to come assist in teaching an RTA course at the 143d. It was unorthodox but we were able to make it work. Volunteers from each of the units of the 143d, 282d, and 102d were put through a two day crash course of the 11 resilience skills and on the third day of training were asked to teach back to us one of the skills they learned so we knew that they had grasped the concept of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness. We held two, three day courses and trained a total of 26 RTAs. According to the feedback given from the students, even the most skeptical were impressed by the skills and agreed with the importance of mental, physical, social and spiritual resilience for each Airman and their families. And agreed with Mr. Lambert's assessment of Tech Sgt Torres!

The Rhode Island Air National Guard and I personally thank Tech Sgt Torres, the volunteers and their Supervisors and Commanders for making this unprecedented training happen. I am looking forward to the RTAs getting out there and training their first Resilience Skill, sharing the resilience training with our fellow Airmen and training more RTAs in the future.