Taking a knee: ‘Dragon’ Brigade implements resiliency program
After the classroom discussions and practical exercises were completed, soldiers had free to time to play video games, exercise or surf the web on the donated wireless internet provided for the Dragon Combat Resiliency Program. (U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Betty Brime)
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/641776/taking-knee-dragon-brigade-impliments-resiliency-program#ixzz296sm7El7
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Being in an austere environment is a test in itself, and to help relieve stress the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, is paying attention to the needs of the soldiers in the fight.
From Aug. 1-5, several soldiers based at various combat outposts and forward operating bases around the brigade's area of operations received the opportunity to take a knee and learn how to cope with stress during deployment.
"After everything you go through out here, it was nice to take a break and refresh ourselves, gather our minds and souls, and prepare ourselves to go back to work," said Spc. Rachel Bonine, a logistician assigned to Company A, 701st Brigade Support Battalion.
"Sometimes in combat things happened and we didn't know how to handle it – especially people who are on their first deployment, and even the people who have been deployed a few times," said Bonine. "Sometimes we just need to step back and remember what the fight is for."
The Dragon Combat Resiliency Program is based on the five pillars of the Army's comprehensive soldier fitness initiative: physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual. The program gives soldiers time to be able to rest and relax so they will become mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually stronger.
Classes were given to the soldiers to assist them in dealing with the pressures of combat operations for the duration of the deployment. The areas of focus were sleep, hygiene, physical resiliency and stress management.
"Morale wise, it has helped a lot. Being at COP Zerok is pretty stressful every day. I'm kind of going through a hard time right now because I'm going through a divorce," said Spc. Jonathan White, an attendee and infantryman from Company A, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment.
"But coming here, meeting new people and making new friends has boosted my morale a lot," he added.
Even though the family element was missing for most, some soldiers were able to reunite with their spouses who are also deployed with Dragon Brigade. Others were able to connect with their families free of charge via a donated wireless Internet service and free morale calls.
To ease some of the stress on soldiers' minds, the Dragon Brigade's command team, Col. Joseph Wawro and Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchison, hung out with the soldiers and had a question and answer session to find out the needs of the soldiers attending the program.
"It was a great opportunity," said Hutchison, the senior enlisted adviser of the Dragon Brigade. "We got to get breakfast with the soldiers and talk about some of the things they have questions or worries about."
"I even played some Madden football with one of the soldiers who was talking some trash about 'he was the best,' so I had to teach him that he wasn't," said Hutchison. "Overall, I think this is a great program that we will sustain in the brigade and conduct twice a month," he added.
In the end, the soldiers received some much needed time to relax, refresh and ready themselves to get back in the fight.
"I believe the people who set this program up did a great job. People like Staff Sgt. Betty Brime, chaplain (Maj.) Valeria Van Dress, the brigade ministry team, who are always there for us," said White. "It was really nice to have somebody there for you. I just want to say thank you to everyone who put this together."
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/92891/taking-knee-dragon-brigade-implements-resiliency-program#ixzz29NoerxT1