Resiliency is the key to air power

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephan Coleman
  • 81st training Wing Public Affairs
Resilience isn't just a buzzword; a resilient Air Force is a versatile one, and in today's economic and political environment, it is vital.

Resiliency skills, an extension of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, are taught and reinforced base-wide by master resilience trainers and their resilience training assistants. While MRT training is lengthy and requires a temporary duty assignment, the RTA course is held each month.

"This course is really important to our Air Force right now," said Chief Master Sgt. Farrell Thomas, 81st Training Wing command chief. "This isn't a program that is going to go away in the next four to six months -- it's something that is enduring because we need it. We need resilience in our lives, whether it's personal or professional."

Due to increased demand, RTA classes were held twice in June, and will be held in July and August as well. The three-day training covers all eight hours of the resiliency course and certifies participants as RTAs.

"The RTAs responsibility will be to teach within their units," said Staff Sgt. Heather Smith, 345th Airlift Squadron and MRT for almost three years. "For things like wingman day or office training days, RTAs will be able to teach one block of training - one resiliency skill - at a time."

MRTs oversee training for the base and are able to teach the entire eight-hour, 14-skill course. They conduct the RTA classes, as well as resiliency training for the first term Airman course, the transition assistance program, force management courses and various wing and group-level training for commanders.

The training is for everyone, even those who are already resilient, as it deals with daily stressors as well as traumatic life moments. The training isn't just for the classroom either; it can be applied anywhere, any time.

"I interact with students daily," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Quattlebaum, 335th Training Squadron instructor. "Most of the Airmen are fresh from basic training, but they come from all different backgrounds. Some of them never went to college, and others disliked the college environment they came from. It's important for me, as an instructor, to be able to teach them more than just their job."

Resiliency skills result in better health, teamwork, and leadership.

"I really believe in this stuff," said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Bishop, 81st Training Support Squadron curriculum developer and MRT. "You can teach the skills in your own style, but the point is to believe in this stuff and teach it from the heart."

Most classes have 10-12 participants and involve plenty of activities and discussion, with no room for being shy.

Comprehensive Airman Fitness provides the foundation for resiliency and is made of four domains, or pillars: mental, social, physical and spiritual.

"Each of these domains has certain tenets, and these tenets are essentially the characteristics of a resilient person," said Smith. "Learning the skills in the course will enhance certain groups of characteristics."

"A lot of research went into this program," she added. "But, it's not about telling people what to do. It's about learning skills for coping with everyday hassles."

The overall goal of the resiliency program is to get everyone the full training, said Smith.

"Resiliency applies to everything we have going on in our Air Force today," said Thomas. "There are a lot of demands placed on all of us. We need to be able to leave stress behind and pick back up the next day."

For more information, call Liz Waters, 81st Training Wing community support coordinator and director of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. The next two RTA courses will be July 22-24 and August 26-28. To register, sign up at