GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. —
In order to build combat-ready airmen, the Air Force Enlisted Force Development Action Plan states that airmen must form resilience-building habits that focus on connection among the mind, body, spirit and relationships.
Comprehensive Airman Fitness provides a framework for this concept that focuses on seeking fitness in four domains: mental, physical, spiritual and social.
Those four domains are the foundation of the Air Force Resilience Training Program used by master resilience trainers and resilience training assistants to help airmen overcome adversity and challenges throughout their careers.
RTAs are certified to conduct and organize resiliency training and events at their installations under the wing’s community support coordinator.
“Currently, we have 56 RTAs who are all experts in resilience,” said Denae Grove, the community support coordinator for the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. “Each RTA is trained at the local level and are equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary to help airmen handle stress and recover from difficult challenges.”
The wing’s resilience program’s statement of understanding states that each RTA must facilitate at least four resiliency events annually at the unit, group, or wing level.
To meet this requirement, RTAs from across the base facilitate training and host events to boost morale and increase resiliency within their squadrons.
Senior Airman Marc Radzewicz, the unit deployment manager for the 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, volunteers as an RTA for his unit. He recently organized an event that highlighted building personal connections within the squadron.
“For this event, I decided to focus on the social pillar,” Radzewicz said. “Our squadron has over 300 members, and I wanted to create an environment for airmen to enjoy, relax and meet one another.”
The entirety of the morale event consisted of a chili cook-off, cornhole, videogame tournaments, and a pie in the face fundraiser.
“We had over 150 airmen who attended and were able to participate in activities during shift changes and throughout the day,” Radzewicz said. “It was a great way to get together especially during the winter in North Dakota.”
Another unit RTA, Staff Sgt. Chance Nardone, the noncommissioned officer in charge of community engagement for the 319 Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs office, hosted an event focusing on individuals’ mindfulness, physical health and spiritual wellness.
“I worked with a local business to coordinate and provide two yoga classes free for airmen to attend,” Nardone said. “The intent was to introduce airmen to a new way to focus on building their mental, physical and spiritual resilience outside of the workplace.”
Both classes were open to members of 319th Comptroller Squadron and wing staff agencies to attend and included 30-minutes of mindfulness reflection and 60-minutes of instructed yoga.
“I personally use yoga to relieve stress and ground myself every day,” Nardone said. “I think practicing yoga and mindfulness is a great way to connect with yourself while improving your health and wellness.”
By using the skills and resources provided by the local community support coordinator, CAF and the Air Force Resiliency Program, RTAs are able to help aid airmen in developing resiliency skills, overcome hardships and provide the opportunity to connect with others.
“Resiliency is a tool that I encourage everyone to sharpen,” Grove said. “Events such as the chili cook-off and yoga classes are a great way to continue to build and strengthen resilience around the wing.”
To learn more about Air Force Resilience Training, or for information about becoming an RTA, contact the community support coordinator at 701-747-7183.