FORT CAMPBELL. Ky. -- Leaders and noncommissioned officers assigned to 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), took part in a five-day Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness leader development course here, Feb. 24 through Feb. 28.

The CSF2 course is targeted for leaders and NCOs who want to enhance the performance of their organization by increasing their leader attributes with mental skills training that can benefit the team both on and off deployments.

"This course was presented to us by Lt. Col. Miller, our battalion commander," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bochert, the senior noncommissioned officer for Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems platoon, Company D, 3rd STB. "Ideally he wanted two personnel from every platoon that were in a leadership role so that we could bring back what we learned to the Soldiers of our platoons."

The course is designed to assist leaders with the high operational tempo of the Army by helping the Soldiers understand human performance factors such as attention control, energy management and confidence building so that they can maximize efficiency within training.

"We do a lot of these mental skills already," said Sgt. 1st Class Nathaniel Wooddell, senior noncommissioned officer for the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platoon, Company D, 3rd STB. "Learning about these methods are beneficial in helping us further understand, explain and exercise these methods."

The leaders and noncommissioned officers of 3rd STB learned firsthand the difference in levels of success through the understanding of the mental skills they learned in a series of ?'mental fitness?' obstacle courses that challenged them both mentally and physically.

"On the first day of classes we took part in a timed obstacle course," said Bochert. "After a couple days of furthering our knowledge on these mental skills we did the same obstacle course on day four and saw an incredible rise in our overall success as well as a very noticeable drop in our times."

Bochert and Wooddell both agree that using the methods they learned throughout the course helped them to achieve greater success in the obstacle course as well as open their eyes to what can be accomplished with the use of the training.

"Part of the design of the course is to give the leaders a chance to perform and see how they attack these different situations, tasks and obstacles," said Justin Foster, the lead master resilience trainer and performance expert with the CSF2 program. "Then we give them some of the mental skills training we want them to use in mentoring and coaching their subordinates."

Foster has been assisting Soldiers with this training for about four years and has noticed improvement in overall success with the CFS2 program.

"After the leaders within this class applied what they learned into the second obstacle course they improved their performance by 25 percent according to their timed scores," said Foster. "One team, who finished last on the first obstacle course, finished first on the second time reducing their time by nearly half with a 77 percent increase in performance."

Students within the class agree that using the tools and skills taught to them helped to better themselves with the mentally and physically challenging tasks and also see how these skills can drive their Soldiers to improve performance throughout the battalion.

"Special Troops Battalion is the most diverse type of battalion in the entire Army, with over 60 different Army jobs," said Lt. Col. Zachary Miller, commander of 3rd STB. "This training will help get all the Soldiers of the battalion to a higher level of training faster."