As part of Fort Jackson, South Carolina’s Military Spouse Appreciation Day (MSAD), the Post’s R2 Performance Center shared the services available to Family Members, specifically spouses.
Insights into available resources included: Academic Performance Training, Expectation Management, Mindsets, Team Building, Master Resilience Trainer Skills, Stress Management/Energy Management, other Performance Enhancement skills and training, and Engage. The MSAD, hosted by Fort Jackson’s Commanding General and Command Sergeant Major, emphasizes the importance of spouses, different types of marriages, and the roles and impact of spouses on military service.
Performance Skills are Range Qualified
To maximize weapons qualification success for Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) Soldiers, the commander asked the USARJ R2 Performance Center to provide Performance Skills training during recent M4 and M9 weapons qualification at Camp Fuji, Japan.
Soldiers were provided training in Energy Management, Building Confidence, and Attention Control. Sixty-eight Soldiers from other units including the 35th Combat Support and Sustainment Battalion, I-Corps Forward, USARJ Band, and members from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Bilateral Co-Operative Exchange Program also took advantage of the training leading to a day of successful weapons qualification ranges.
Effective Communication Help Saves Lives
Effective communication between personnel involved in a vehicle roll-over, whether in training or combat, can make the difference between life and death. Soldiers from the 78th Signal Battalion conducted training in the HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer (HEAT), which simulates conditions that occur during a vehicle roll-over.
Performance Experts (PEs) from U.S. Army Japan’s R2 Performance Center provided training on the importance of managing expectations, skills to maintain composure, the value of watching other groups execute the roll-over battle drills, and team communication. Groups that worked closely with the PEs were able to exit the vehicle in a timely, efficient manner, with zero injuries, highlighting the importance of communication skills in an emergency.
R2PC Supports U.S. – Japan Co-Op Exchange Program
The USARJ R2 Performance Center collaborated with the Strategic Effects Division of U.S. Army Japan to provide Leadership Training for 10 Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Leaders participating in the Co-Op exchange program.
Class 100 of the Co-Op program received training on effective coaching, providing effective feedback, and motivation. The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity for JGSDF Officers and NCOs to improve bilateral relations, enhance English comprehension skills, learn about the U.S. Army and American culture, get familiarized with U.S. Army doctrine and techniques, and educate U.S. Army Japan NCOs and Officers about Japan and JGSDF. The long-running program is celebrating its 26th year.
USARJ Preps for ACFT
The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) challenges Soldiers both physically and mentally. To assist Soldiers in succeeding on the ACFT, the leadership of Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) reached out to their local R2 Performance Center (R2PC) for customized mental skills training.
R2PC Performance Experts taught Soldiers strategies to structure physical training (PT) to be more enjoyable, develop a growth mindset about physical training, and how to craft a mental game to distract themselves from counter-productive thoughts during challenging exercises including solving a combination lock puzzle while holding a plank. HHC USARJ plans to incorporate future iterations of the training with the company’s PT program to provide Soldiers both the physical and mental skills and toughness needed to not just pass but excel on the ACFT.
FSU Tackles Metacognitive Obstacle Course
In preparation for Cadet Summer Training (CST), 109 Florida State University ROTC Cadets completed a challenging metacognitive obstacle course created by Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Experts (MRT-PE) from Fort Stewart’s R2 Performance Center (R2PC). The obstacle course included an introduction to mental skills training and five stations that included a physical task, as well as a more challenging mental task.
The course induced stress and frustration by adding additional rules and creating an atmosphere of ambiguity. After completing the course, the MRT-PEs led an in-depth debrief linking three topics, confidence, concentration, and composure, to the obstacles the Cadets endured. To enhance the lessons learned on the course, Cadets participated in classroom discussions on the Thought-Performance Connection: how to use thoughts more effectively and increase confidence, how to shift attention from distractions to targets by using cue-words, and techniques to increase or decrease energy activation based on any given performance, including priming emotions and deliberate breathing. These tools will enhance the Seminole Cadets ability to complete this summer’s CST.
Green Thumb Resilience and Purpose
With Spring in the air, Soldiers in Transition (STs) from Fort Bragg’s Soldier Readiness Unit (SRU), with help from the installation’s R2 Performance Center (R2PC), revived the SRU’s dormant Gardening Program. STs spent a day rebuilding two gardening beds and planting flowers and plants in the unit’s courtyard. STs will monitor and provide upkeep of the gardens and have plans to construct two more beds.
The program’s goals include instilling a sense of purpose and providing formal and informal opportunities to integrate skills on Goal Setting, Communication, Mindfulness, Energy, and Connection in an outdoor setting. Without a sense of purpose, STs can suffer from behavioral health issues or physical ailments that often prolong their recovery. Hands-on activities such as gardening can provide a much-needed sense of purpose and build resilience.
Going forward, a collaborative effort between the Fort Bragg R2PC, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, and the North Carolina State Agriculture Department will bring in Master Gardeners to provide lectures on gardening and growing plants to provide opportunities for ST’s who are hoping to make farming part of their life and career after transitioning from the Army.
Saddle Up! For Resilience
Fort Riley’s 1-4 CAV conducted a Spur Ride to build esprit de corps and resilience within squadron members. A long-standing tradition among U.S. Army Cavalry units going back to a time when they were horse-mounted, Spur Rides challenge Soldiers, known as Troopers in the CAV, to overcome a series of mental and physical challenges before they can earn their spurs.
The 1-4 CAV’s Chaplain reached out to the post’s R2 Performance Center to incorporate resilience and performance skills during the ride. Performance Experts from the center provided instruction and feedback as part of the Mental Challenge Lane. Troopers were trained on Energy Management, Attention Control, Stress Management, and Communications skills aimed at helping them meet the different challenges and earn their spurs.
Steel Dragons Excel with Performance Skills
As the M109 Paladin’s maneuvered into position and the Fire Direction Center (FDC) finalized the computations for a fire mission, Soldiers from Charlie Battery 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, utilized recently learned performance skills to prepare for this crucial mission. In preparation for the Battery’s Table XII Certifications, unit leadership requested skills training from Fort Hood’s R2 Performance Center (R2PC).
Soldiers learned techniques for Action Control, Energy Management, and Effective Communication. Each is vital to success during the highly fluid and dynamic training environment found during certification. Field Artillery units are required to shoot, move, and communicate on a continual basis and require clear and concise communication, particularly between the FDC and the gun line. A 24-hour mission, Table XII is intended to create a realistic, stressful training environment. Training from the R2PC on energy management allowed Soldiers to lower their anxiety and focus on their performance. When the call came down, “rounds complete,” the Steel Dragons of Charlie Battery were fully qualified and ready to perform their real-world mission.
Mental Skills Training Equal First Run Qualifications
“This is the first time in five years that all of Able Company had everyone qualify during their first run. seven total crews were distinguished, four crews shot superior, and one shot qualified,” according to Able’s commander Cpt. Zachary Ricketts. The foundation for April’s Gunnery success was laid month’s earlier when the company and platoon leadership reached out to Fort Hood’s R2 Performance Center (R2PC) to schedule training.
Tailoring the training for specific groups, Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert John Avritt delivered classes on Mental Skills, Goal Setting, Attention Control, and Mechanical and Motivational Cues. Transitioning from the classroom to the gunnery range, R2PC experts provided mini lessons on Deliberate Breathing, Imagery, and a review of Attention Control techniques. The results were impressive with every team qualifying on their first run and the Goons of 3rd Platoon scoring the highest average in the battalion; the only platoon to average distinguished. Third platoon bought-in to the skills training from the start and were rewarded for their focus. The 1-5 CAV commander Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong recognized the company’s efforts stating that they outperformed the other companies and that 3rd platoon stood out for their distinguished scores. Focused training that includes Mental and Performance Skills equals successful mission accomplishment.
SRU Band Rocks Mindfulness
Music filled the quad outside Fort Bragg’s Soldier Recovery Unit (SRU) as Soldiers in the unit’s Music Wellness skills development program celebrated the culmination of the 8-week course with an open-air concert. In addition to teaching musical skills, the program incorporates Mindset training taught by Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Experts from the installation’s R2 Performance Center.
Classes on Imagery, Mindfulness, and Academic Performance skills supplemented the musical skills development. Several Soldiers developed a strong sense of connection with the band, with one mentioning that the course helped with reintegrating into working with a group, a goal his therapist had encouraged him to pursue, and another hoping to continue to perform with others after transitioning from the Army. The 6th iteration of the program is currently underway.
Deliberate Breathing, Communication Equals Success During Platoon Live Fire
Focusing on deliberate breathing techniques and communicating effectively helped the Soldiers of Alpha Troop, 2-7 CAV in successfully completing their platoon live fire exercises at Fort Hood. Identifying the stressful nature of the exercises, the Troop leadership requested on-site support from the installation’s R2 Performance Center (R2PC).
Prior to executing the event, Soldiers were given classes on communicating effectively, vital to success while conducting high-tempo operations. During the actual live fire, Soldiers were taught deliberate breathing techniques to bring their anxiety levels down, helping them to perform optimally and effectively. Troop leadership specifically highlighted the efforts of Fort Hood’s R2PC as an important component of the unit’s successful completion of the exercises and in for use in future operations.
More R2-Trained EIB Candidates Earn their Badge than Those Without
In support of the 1st BCT 101 ABN DIV (AASLT) Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) and Expert Soldier Badge (ESB) train-up, Embedded Performance Experts (EPEs) from Fort Campbell’s R2 Performance Center provided mental skills training including energy management, attention/refocus techniques, imagery, and segmenting a task into smaller chunks - to decrease anxiety associated with a graded event.
During previous EIB/ESB iterations, the unit leadership had identified that mental skills training plays a role in a Soldier’s success at EIB or ESB. Incorporating the mental skills provided by the EPEs, the Soldiers identified areas and EIB/ESB tasks that may require mental skills to be successful and were given the opportunity to practice the skills with specific tasks such as land navigation, and weapons disassemble/reassemble. Following testing, data demonstrated that R2-trained candidates had a higher pass rate than those without. Most notably, R2-trained E1-E4 EIB candidates were twice as likely to earn their badge than those without R2 training.
NTC Readiness Road to War Program Helps Iron Soldiers Prepare for Training
The National Training Center (NTC) Readiness Road to War Program provides leaders and Soldiers with mental and physical readiness skills in preparation for the high-intensity training conducted during a rotation to NTC. The program was developed in collaboration with Fort Bliss R2 Performance Center MRT-PEs, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade Holistic Health and Fitness, and the 3-6 CAV Command Team.
Over the three-day program, Soldiers alternate between a one-hour physical readiness training with H2F SCC or H2F AT and a one-hour mental readiness training with MRT-PE, H2F OT, or H2F RD. During Mindset and Energy Management sessions, Soldiers participate in physically active challenges centered around the day’s topic, followed by a brief lesson, discussion activity, and strategies to take away. An informational handout including topics and strategies from all three mental readiness trainings throughout the week is provided on the last day of training.
The Fort Leonard Wood Ready and Resilient Performance Center assisted the 795th Military Police Battalion with a company-wide team-building event that was executed at the conclusion of their 14-day controlled monitoring phase due to the pandemic.
The event, coined “Hammer Drop”, was designed to showcase military platforms and equipment in hopes of sparking excitement while building camaraderie. The “Corporate” helium stick team-building activity was developed with three target areas in mind. The first target area was designed to teach teamwork along with resilience and performance enhancement skills. The second and third target areas involved observing trainees executing the exercise while the drill sergeants involved observed trainee communication, self-awareness, mindsets and character strengths. This event served to motivate Soldiers, thus giving them something to look forward to as they exited isolation and commenced their BCT training.
Soldiers Develop Mental Skills for Special Ops
The R2 Performance Center at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii conducted performance training for 10 Soldiers preparing for Special Operations, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations Selection. SORB requested training to help Soldiers develop mental skills that will help them during preparation for selection at Fort Bragg for the different SORB specialty areas.
The Attention Control (Segmenting) skill was particularly emphasized because it is extremely effective for Soldiers to use during highly challenging physical activities of relatively long duration. Other R2 skills trained included deliberate breathing, proactive ATC, motivation, imagery, and mental cues.
Developing Mental Skills to Improve ACFT Results
1st Sgt. Stegman wanted to enhance his Soldiers’ Army Combat Fitness Test performance, so he worked with Ft. Drum’s R2 experts to set up a prep day with all 10 sections in the unit.
During the prep day, mental skills and techniques such as imagery (mind-body connection) and body awareness to help refine motor skills to lessen error range, were taught to help with the Deadlift and Standing Power Throw events of the AFCT. After skill application, a discussion took place about fighting against counterproductive attitudes how they can sabotage time and effort in the gym.
Team Building Through SOAR Training
Lieutenant Commander Matthew Scher, Battalion Commander of the 3-160th Special Operations Aviation Regimen, requested a team-building session with battalion officers combining the exploration of values while conducting challenging physical training.
Leaders were asked to identify six values, and while paired up with a partner, discuss their values while completing exercises at five various exercise stations. Once all stations in the circuit were completed, leaders were given strategies on how to maintain a strong team. Leaders walked away understanding the importance of developing stronger and more meaningful connections across companies to bring the battalion closer together as a high-performing team.
New Interactive Course Helps Leaders Enhance Counseling Skills
Leaders at Fort Sill were concerned about issues contributing to low morale and lapses in discipline in their units. Thus, they reached out to Master Resilience Trainers-Performance Experts to teach the Counseling Enhancement Course, an interactive training designed to enhance how leaders counsel and improve their overall relationships with their Soldiers.
The course includes learning fundamental counseling techniques, resilience skills, and practical activities that are based on the skills outlined in ATP 6-22.1. Participants are involved in scenario-based counseling sessions for each skill, encouraging practical application of concepts while receiving ongoing feedback, and improving their understanding of human behavior.
Ft. Benning Conducts Leader Development Course
Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Experts from the R2 Performance Center at Fort Benning, Ga. conducted a Leader Development Course that focused on performance enhancement skills
Soldiers could use to enhance the way they coach, teach, and mentor those they lead. The R2 skills trained included: mindset, philosophy of excellence, authentic performances, motivation, goal setting, effective praise, attention control, cue words/phrases, WIN, AIR, building confidence, reinterpreting pressure, purposeful thinking, selective perception, energy management, sleep, deliberate breathing, control the controllables, and Engage.
Army Europe Soldiers Learn Resilience Training Assistant Skills
VILSECK, Germany — Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Experts (MRT-PEs) Daren Koehler and Andrew Kantor, from the US Army Europe (USAREUR) Ready and Resilient (R2) Performance Center at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany, conducted Master Resilience.
Trainer Resilience Training Assistant (RTA) Certification training with Soldiers of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade using a virtual platform. Students learned the theory behind the MRT skills, conducted a practical hands-on exercise, and discussed what would be expected of students as RTAs and ways they can incorporate the MRT skills to enhance their readiness and resilience. The MRT-PEs have also been training Soldiers from various locations across Europe.
R2 Training Improves Communication, Leadership Skills
FORT HOOD, Texas — Embedded Performance Experts (PEs) joined Soldiers during a Brigade training exercise, Pegasus Forge V, to help sharpen communication between teams, develop leadership skills and maintain motivation while out in the field.
Battalion training activities included challenging missions such as Bradley dismounts, route clearance, maintenance and security. PEs observed and provided on-the-spot feedback, effective communication strategies and guidance on the negative effects of stress. Before going on the mission, Bradley crews practiced identifying potential threats and communicating those potential threats to leadership. Soldiers learned how deliberate breathing can help them regain composure and how to restore effective communication with the crew, as well as ways that PEs can help them with future training exercises. The R2 skills trained included: communication, energy management, and imagery.
Warrior Transition Unit Learns to Boost Positivity, Well-Being
FORT HOOD, Texas— Soldiers, cadre, and civilian workforce members from the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) participated in a well-being initiative comprised of interactive workshops which began in November 2019. Performance Experts (PEs) from the R2 Performance Center taught attendees how to create and maintain healthy mental and physical habits, and effective life and coping skills.
The workshops help to support and accelerate the Soldiers’ recoveries and impact the effectiveness of their coping processes. Attendees reported feeling positive changes in their emotional states, saying they felt more determined, hopeful and optimistic following the training. The R2 skills trained included: motivation, goal setting (WOOP), fixed and growth mindsets, deliberate breathing, and cultivating gratitude (Hunt the Good Stuff).
Performance Enhancement Training Helps Tank Crews
FORT STEWART, Ga. — Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Experts (MRT-PEs) provided classroom performance training to 12 tank crews participating in the 2ABCT, 3rd ID gunnery training. The MRT-PEs supported crew simulated gunnery exercises, preliminary gunnery training and provided support during the live-fire M1A1SA Crew Qualification.
The gunnery included tank crews from 3-15 IN and 6-8 CAV. This brigade-level training allowed for a comparison between tank companies with and without Performance Experts (PEs). While causality cannot be determined, the company utilizing PEs averaged 63 points higher than those without support. In addition, the company receiving performance training had a significantly higher first-time qualification rate at 66% as compared to the company without performance training at 44%.
MRTs Utilize Bowling for a Unique Team Building Opportunity
FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The unit Master Resilience Trainers (MRTs) from 1st IO Command conducted monthly resilience training in a fun, creative way in conjunction with Master Resilience Trainer–Performance Experts (MRT-PEs) from the National Capital Region.
R2 Performance Center team. Fort Belvoir’s bowling center provided a unique opportunity to conduct a monthly training while instilling team building. The unit MRTs reviewed the resilience skills of Activating Event, Thoughts, Consequences (ATC), Real-Time Resilience (RTR), and Effective Praise and Energy Management. Soldiers were then divided into four teams where they competed against each other by lobbing counterproductive thoughts at other bowlers while themselves utilizing RTR to remain focused on their own bowling.
Team Building Exercises Help Soldiers Before the Holidays
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — R2 MRT-PEs at Camp Humphreys provided team building exercises to 70 Soldiers from 4th CBRN Company as a way to boost team dynamics prior to the holiday season; especially helpful for young Soldiers overseas for the first time.
Team tasks focused on trust, vulnerability, getting outside one’s comfort zone, belonging, coping with “uncontrollables,” and effective communication strategies. The company commander commented: "The exercises effectively addressed what first sergeant and I were looking to train: teamwork, espirit de corps, connectedness and leadership.”