Comprehensive Soldier Fitness director visits Fort Hood
January 24, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas (Jan. 24, 2012) -- The resilience of Soldiers, civilians and Family members at Fort Hood was on full display Jan. 12 during a visit from the new Director of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, Brig. Gen. Jim Pasquarette.
Pasquarette, who was appointed to the position less than two months ago, is currently in the midst of a comprehensive review of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, or CSF, program. He said the best way to see what is working, and what needs to be tweaked, is to visit installations around the Army. He sat in on a Master Resilience Trainer class at the "Great Place."
The MRT course is a 10-day class where Soldiers and civilians learn resilience techniques and coping skills. Pasquarette said he has spent quite a bit of time at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the primary locations where MRT instructors go through the program, and the next step was to see how those instructors were presenting the material at their home installations.
"I wanted to get a feel for how we're doing it away from the University of Pennsylvania," he explained. "I'm very impressed. There's really no difference in the quality of instruction, and the interaction between the noncommissioned officers and the instructors is just what I saw at Penn."
The MRT class is designed to promote resilience skills within units. Once MRTs graduate, they are able to teach the program to other Soldiers and develop programs to enhance and deepen resilience in their units.
Pasquarette said initial studies show that CSF has a positive impact on the force.
"We looked at eight different brigades in the Army," he explained. "Four of them had MRTs and did resilience training. Four of them did not. All of them took the Global Assessment Tool on how their psychological health measurements were and what we found was the four brigades that had the benefit of this training -- over time -- their psychological health and resilience improved. Those that did not have the benefit of those MRTs or that training -- the psychological health actually decreased."
During his visit, Pasquarette met with Soldiers in the MRT class, which was taught by a mobile training team, and met with III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen Don Campbell Jr. He said he was pleased with many of the things he saw at Fort Hood and the support of CSF from senior leaders.
He said the CSF campus area at Fort Hood was an excellent concept and he was impressed by the MRT refresher courses offered on post.
"To me that's a best practice that I've not seen elsewhere," he said.
The general also spoke about the future of CSF in a new fiscal reality. Pasquarette said he's confident the CSF program will always have a place in the Army.
"Everything's being looked at across the Army, however, I believe this is something we're going to have forever more, similar to PT," he said. "I think in the future, even under this budget, we're going to fund it. We believe this will save us money through prevention."
He said after a decade of war, programs like CSF play a crucial role in preventing or mitigating issues that might arise down the road for Soldiers and their family members, and continuing to fund the program and the courses may ultimately result in huge cost savings.
"We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on treatment," Pasquarette said. "We think a little bit of prevention up front will result in a lot less expenditure over time."
During his visit, Pasquarette spent time meeting with the Fort Hood Soldiers and civilians going through the MRT training.
Master Sgt. William Loggins Jr., the CSF Training Facility operations noncomissioned officer and the Fort Hood MRT coordinator, said it was an honor to host the general.
"He's been very receptive to our ideas," Loggins said. "He's looking at what is the best answer for the whole program. Some of the ideas we had he said sounded awesome."
Loggins said the Fort Hood MRT courses, the Resilience Training Assistant courses and the Family Resilience Academy courses continue to attract interest and Soldiers, DA civilians and family members continue to fill class seats.
"We just kind of hold ourselves out there. We're a tool for you to use. Whatever you need in the realm of resilience training, we're here to support that. As the word gets out that we're offering this, it gets more and more popular," he said.
Pasquarette said as more and more NCOs learn about the program it continues to expand and enhance resilience across the Army.
"One of the reasons I know this is a good program -- our NCO Corps -- once they get exposed to it and understand it, they are believers in the potential to improve the lives of their Soldiers and the capabilities of their units," he said. "It helps our Soldiers, family members and DA civilians deal with adversity in their life and more importantly -- thrive in their life."
For additional information about CSF and courses offered at Fort Hood, visit www.hood.army.mil/csf-tf/index.aspx.