FORT KNOX, Ky. – An Army program instituted more than a decade ago continues to improve its processes and scope, providing attendees with valuable coping skills for life’s hardships.
Ready and Resilient Program manager Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Gilpin said the Master Resiliency Training class was initially created just for Soldiers.
“MRT was developed around 2010 for Soldiers coming home from deployments needing a way to deal with problems,” said Gilpin. “The Army created this program to help them work through issues.”
Once the Army began implementing the program, adjustments were made to improve it to make it applicable to not only Soldiers, but also civilians and spouses. Gilpin said these changes focused on much more than the effects of deployment.
“Over the years, it’s turned into the program we have today,” said Gilpin. “It teaches 14 skills that address multiple ways of dealing with everyday life problems, not just ones that are Army-related.”
MRT is an 80-hour course offered multiple times a year. The most recent one, which completed Feb. 11, had 26 graduates go through a series of skill training designed to teach how to have a positive mindset.
“A lot of it is based on optimism,” said Gilpin. “It’s about changing the way you think about and address situations; to ‘hunt the good stuff.’”
During the final day of training, Fort Knox Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. William Fogle spoke with the graduating class. Rather than formally addressing those in attendance, he sat down and openly shared his own experiences with them.
“I had a deployment that was very difficult where we had incoming rockets all the time. The stress that puts on you is overwhelming,” said Fogle. “That August we had an explosion when one hit the side of our perimeter – it killed a bunch of folks and threw me about 15-20 feet.
“I go through thoughts of that day quite a bit.”
Fogle then asked the attendees to open up about their personal life experiences as well, and how what they’d learned throughout the course could help them as they navigate difficulties in the future. After listening, he said he’s able to see things very differently thanks to what MRT provides.
“One of the positive things for me as an individual is, I absolutely think I’m a better leader with a different lens on programs that support our service members,” said Fogle. “All of these skills are great if we effectively use them in every single part of our lives – not just in day-to-day Army life.”
For his final message to those in the room, Fogle offered a reminder of how far reaching the course’s impact has the potential to be.
“As you graduate today and go back to your units and organizations, think about how you can help teach folks how to handle life better,” said Fogle. “Give somebody tools to take home. Think about it from that lens.”
Gilpin echoed Fogle’s words, saying the instruction is the combination of what the course can do for those who go through it directly and how they can, in turn, help others that makes the program so successful. He said a positive mindset is a powerful tool.
“If you put this into practice, at the end of the day you’ll think of good things that happened to counteract some bad things maybe you’ve been dwelling on,” said Gilpin. “You’re not holding on to that negative energy.”
The next MRT course begins April 18. Anyone wishing to attend or seeking details about all the center offers can find information on the R2 Performance Center Facebook Page. Gilpin urged anyone feeling troubled or stressed to seek out the services they provide.
“There’s always something that can be done,” said Gilpin. “There’s always people who will listen to you; people who will help you out. Whatever the case might be, there’s always hope.”