Warrior Resilience Conference Day 1: Leadership Connects with Services
By DCoE Strategic Communications
April 04, 2012
U.S. Public Health Service Cmdr. George Durgin, DCoE chief for resilience, welcomes the opening ceremony at the fourth annual Warrior Resilience Conference. (Photo by Linda Dennis/A Backpack Journalist)
Navy Capt. Paul Hammer, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) director, stressed the need for attendees to take what they learned back to their own communities during the fourth annual Warrior Resilience Conference hosted in Washington, D.C., March 29-30.
“You have to put these things into practice…in everyday life. This conference helps as we try to understand the elements of practical, concrete things we can do to build resilience in our service members,” he said. “What did we do to build better units, more resilient communities and more resilient families? What you take back really does help service members, families and communities as a whole.”
More than 500 military leaders, health care providers, psychologists and resiliency program leaders discussed how to develop a more resilient military community.
Insight from military leaders added to the conversation on resilience, particularly during the senior enlisted panel. Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler discussed his behavioral health counseling with Army leadership when he was being considered for his current position, knowing it wouldn’t hinder his chances for the job. Rather, it enabled him to share his personal road to resilience.
“If I can be chosen [as Sgt. Maj. of the Army], that shows the Army’s commitment,” he said. “It means that I’m a better man, a better husband, a better father and at the end of the day, a better soldier—Army Strong.”
Glenn Garcia, U.S. Air Force, 90th Medical Operations Squadron outreach manager for Family Advocacy Program, kicked off the discussion on leadership responsibility. Garcia said leaders can help units manage stress and increase resilience by encouraging a positive mental attitude, exercise, good nutrition, social support, and maintaining realistic expectations and a purpose-driven life.
“As a supervisor and coworker if someone is having a bad day, let them vent. Let them work it out,” Garcia said. “When you talk to these young military members…see if they’re setting goals way too high. Make sure that [their goals] are realistic, on track and they [can] figure out what to do when they get there…[help them] find a sense of purpose, and talk about how you can do that.”
Army Maj. Todd Yosick, DCoE deputy director for resilience and prevention, discussed social fitness, one of eight domains of the Total Force Fitness initiative. He praised the number of resilience programs available, but emphasized the need to share the right programs with those who need it.
“Social fitness is the cornerstone of what we do…we need to make sure we look at creative ways we can get folks to share the common goal and common purpose,” Yosick said. “One of the things we have done in the past decade is developing resources…and one thing we need to do [now] is connect people to those resources.”
Visit DCoE to learn more about resiliency resources available for leaders, providers, service members, veterans and their families.