CSF2 program helps 'health of the force'
November 16, 2012
By Lori Egan
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Nov. 14, 2012) -- Sgt. Denise Rangel is a new arrival to Fort Benning. A newlywed, she left Fort Campbell, Ky., and her husband who is still stationed there, in October for her new job on Sand Hill.
As part of an Army pilot program, she participated in two days of Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness resilience training during inprocessing instead of two hours.
Two other groups of Soldiers will participate in the program that supports health of the force initiatives. The two resilience training modules will be taught Thursday and Friday to newly arrived Soldiers and again in December, said Sam Rhodes, the Maneuver Center of Excellence's CSF2 program manager.
"The training equips an individual with valuable life skills that help one to better cope in stressful situations, bounce back from adversity and avoid self-defeating behavior," Rhodes said.
"At first, I was angry," said Rangel, who PCSed for the first time in her six-year career. "I didn't think the Army cared about helping my husband get stationed here, but the class helped me see the bright side, to stay positive. The group (in the course) pointed out this won't be the last time I am separated from my husband.
"This training is relevant to everyday life. It's helped me to look for positives in my personal life and at work."
Soldiers receive resilience training at all educational courses from basic training to the War College, but when the secretary, chief of staff and sergeant major of the Army endorsed the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program in August, they wrote: "that CSF2's Resilience Training Program is effective in increasing psychological fitness, reducing negative behavior and increasing optimism."
1st Lt. Fetene Dichma, who also participated in the two-day training, said it reinforced concepts he's used his entire life to overcome obstacles, to focus on things he could change and how to analyze bad situations for positive outcomes.
Using a resiliency skill taught in the class, Hunt the Good Stuff, Dichma explained how he could help a drill sergeant who was stressed about a Soldier not qualifying in basic rifle marksmanship.
"I would say, 'If you were to write down three things that went well yesterday, would you say:
1. The trainee successfully loaded the magazine into the rifle?
2. The trainee successfully held the rifle in the right direction?
3. The trainee did not cry after he shot and missed the target, repeatedly?
Then I would say you are doing a great job and the Soldier just needs a little bit more training. Don't just focus on negative things … even if the positive thing is small, it might make you smile.'"
Col. Marsha Lilly is the Army's communication and plans chief for Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness. She said while Maj. Gen. Michael Tucker, now the assistant deputy chief of staff/G3/5/7, was the commander in Korea, he had his Soldiers complete two days of resilience training and kept statistics on the outcomes: Did more Soldiers enroll in school, were there fewer DUIs or discipline problems? That's what the Army is looking for -- statistical data that measures resilience and social isolation/loneliness. While Fort Benning took the lead in this pilot program, two other installations, yet to be determined, will contribute to the study.
As Tucker wrote in the CSF2 quarterly newsletter, "We should see an even greater emphasis on CSF2 training as the Army recognizes our increased incidents of suicide. While much data is yet to be analyzed, CSF2 is recognized as an effective strategy to change such behavior."