By Heather Clark, Fort Campbell CourierApril 29, 2013
In today's Army, adversity is ever-present. A phenomenon nearly tangible enough to be standard issue, it is every bit as real as the boots on a Soldier's feet. After more than 10 years of war, hyperdriven deployment schedules and mounting budget issues, it is clear that this adversity, while healthy in some amounts, has the propensity to become an uncontrollable force in the lives of some Soldiers and their Families.
Combating this faceless threat from various fronts has become the purpose of the Army's Ready and Resilient campaign, which, according to www.army.mil/readyandresilient, "integrates and synchronizes multiple efforts and programs to improve the readiness and resilience of the Army Family."
To illustrate the efforts being made by Fort Campbell to adopt an effective and far-reaching resiliency program, officials held a media roundtable at the 101st Sustainment Brigade "Lifeliner" Resiliency Center Wednesday morning. Part of this effort includes collaboration between unit and brigade commanders and the Community Health Promotion Council.
"The Community Health Promotion Council is basically charged with integrating and synchronizing key Army programs that focus on resilience training, leader engagement with Soldiers and Families and improving unit readiness to establish a prevention system of care for our entire community," said JoJo Huber, CHPC promotion officer.
To make it OK for Soldiers and Family members to seek assistance of any kind within the installation community -- whether it be in behavioral, financial or familial -- Huber said cultural changes need to take place that encourage help-seeking behaviors while reducing stigmas.
"In order for us to do that, one of the initiatives that came out of the CHPC process in 2010 was the organization of the brigade resiliency team council concept," she said. "This is a team where brigades actually come together once a month to discuss their resiliency efforts…and basically have a forum to address some of the issues that they see."
Each brigade at Fort Campbell currently has resiliency teams in place that are, according to Huber, "the integration and synchronization of unit resiliency efforts at the lowest level to address the health and welfare of the brigade formations."
The success of the program is contingent upon the cooperation and endorsement at the command level, according to Col. Charles Hamilton, commander of the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
"I can assure you that the company commanders have bought into this process of resiliency and fighting this campaign to ensure our Soldiers get the best medical and mental health advice and care that they can receive," said Hamilton. "That's one of the cornerstones or pillars of the program -- that we have buy-in from the leadership."
Equally important, he says, is the embedded behavioral health professionals that are now part of each of the units at Fort Campbell.
"That shows the seriousness of it," he said. "We've brought in a new weapons system. We brought in and embedded behavioral specialists into our formations. They're walking around, they're part of the team. And they help us every day."
With specialists integrated into the brigades of Fort Campbell, the hope remains that Soldiers needing help of any kind will seek it out voluntarily from professionals with whom they've established a sense of familiarity.
"Obviously we've seen the numbers grow where folks have come forward to seek help," said Hamilton. "I don't know how you measure it, but we're de-stigmatizing it. Soldiers feel comfortable coming to their teammates whom they see on a daily basis. They're not strangers to the formation."
Other initiatives include the resiliency center - a multi-purpose location where Soldiers can do everything from work out in a weight room, obtain resource contacts for the installation or just kick back and play some video games. Currently, the 101st Sustainment Brigade is the only brigade at Fort Campbell to have such an establishment.
"We're now trying to track and see how well this model goes in order to champion that throughout the other seven brigades," said Huber.
"We see a lot of use out of the facility," said Command Sgt. Maj. Eugene J. Thomas Jr., CSM for the 101st Sust. Bde. "If we can save one person from doing something that they otherwise wouldn't do, then it's worth it to us. How do you measure it? I call it taking care of Soldiers. That's what we're all about."
The effort to take care of Soldiers in every capacity is a continuing reality for the brigades, the CHPC and each organization at Fort Campbell. As trends and issues continue to be enlightened across the board, Hamilton feels confident that resiliency will take the place of adversity among the standard issue arsenal for Soldiers.
"Every Soldier in our formation matters, and this is a campaign we'll continue to fight," he said. "If I'm in a fight, I'm in it to win it. That's the way we look at this…we take this very seriously, and this is a fight we're going to win over time."