OINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., Aug. 13, 2011 " Soldiers participating in “Operation Checkerboard” woke up in the early morning hours to greet the first full moon for the month of August to conduct the first 5K Spiritual Resiliency Run as part of the Army’s new Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.

According to the Army, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is a long term strategy that better prepares the Army community - including all Soldiers, Family members, and the Department of the Army Civilian workforce - to not only survive, but also thrive at a cognitive and behavioral level in the face of protracted warfare and everyday challenges of Army life that are common in the 21st century.

The program, based on 30-plus years of scientific study and results, uses individual assessments, virtual training, classroom training, and embedded resilience experts to provide the critical skills Soldiers, Family members and Army Civilians need.

“Spiritual Resiliency is vital for Soldiers because all of us need a `well` to draw from,” explained Chap. (Capt.) Andrew Williams, staff chaplain, 99th Regional Support Command.

“When times get hard and we are dry; we may need to have something to pull from; so this is a time
where Soldiers can come and fill up their ‘wells’,” Williams added.

Along with getting their ‘wells’ filled up, the Soldiers were made aware of a special program known as the Army Strong Bonds Program.

“One of the things that we are also doing here today is providing more awareness on our Strong Bonds program and offering a way for Soldiers to take advantage of it,” explained Master Sgt. Daniel Roberts, Unit Ministry Team non-commissioned officer in charge.

Strong Bonds is a chaplain-led program for commanders, which builds relationship resiliency. The Strong Bonds mission is to increase Soldier and Family readiness through relationship education and skills training.

There are currently four Strong Bonds programs that can assist Single-Soldiers, Couples and Families to thrive in the turbulence of the military environment.

Attendees voluntarily participate in a Strong Bonds offsite retreat format designed to maximize relationship training impact. The retreat or “getaway” provides an emotionally safe and secure training environment in which to address the effect of military lifestyle stressors.

Soldiers also had a chance to receive numerous religious materials from various faiths.

“We are also taking this time to meet with the Soldiers,” commented Roberts. “As a Reservist, we have less of an opportunity to be in front of them [Soldiers] and we have to take better advantage of that opportunity to try to build that Spiritual Resiliency.”

Spc. Hashim Sharrieff, a native New Yorker from Queens, enjoyed today’s event.

“This was outstanding,” said Sharrieff, who is currently in the 319th Army Band in Fort Totten, N.Y.

“I like to see everyone pushing themselves; a lot of times the nature of what we do in music and being the face of the Army,” Sharrieff explained “we are restricted to really just being on the road and it limits our ability to sometimes to do regular issue standard Soldier training.”

In the end, there was no doubt that all of the Soldiers had their `well` filled and are eagerly awaiting another chance to experience this again.

The 99th Regional Support Command acts as a “virtual installation” that provides world-class base operations support to over 50,000 Army Reserve Soldiers, 400 units and 300 facilities for the entire Northeast Region from Maine to Virginia for the Army Reserve in order to give our Warrior-Citizens and their Families the finest care, support, services and training.

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Page last updated Tue August 16th, 2011 at 10:35