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Inaugural Fort Lee symposium explores benefits of mental, physical well-being

Col. Sean Davis, commander, 59th Ordnance Brigade, provides input during Fort Lee’s first Ready and Resiliency Symposium Sept. 27 in the Army Logistics University Multipurpose Room

Story by Patrick Buffett

U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs

FORT LEE, Va. (Sept. 28, 2017) — More than 100 military leaders and members of the health, wellness and victim advocacy programs here attended Fort Lee’s first Ready and Resiliency Symposium Wednesday in the Army Logistics University Multipurpose Room.

Described in an operations order as an effort to “develop cohesive teams of resilient individuals committed to the Army Profession and capable of accomplishing a range of missions in environments of uncertainty and persistent dangers,” the symposium explored the concepts of resiliency and how the community can influence change through physical, psychological, spiritual, social and family preparedness. Sharing their expertise in the discussion were representatives from the Army Resiliency Directorate and other subject-related support agencies at the Pentagon.

“This is another important step in our strategic effort to shape a cultural shift in the Army,” observed Master Sgt. Hellen Pyramides, Ready and Resilient Integrator for CASCOM. She assisted lead officer, Capt. Christopher Harrington, ALU Staff and Faculty Company commander, with planning and setup of the symposium. ALU hosted the event on behalf of Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley Jr., CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel J. Bartee, CASCOM CSM.

“The vision is to promote and integrate the efforts of services and programs (like ACS, Army Substance Abuse, Religious Support, Army Wellness Center, Family and MWR. and others) to strengthen the resiliency of every Solder and family member in the Army,” Pyramides said. “This symposium will help our commanders understand the strategy and look at ways of implementing it, thus ensuring enduring personal readiness is achieved achieved at all levels within the Army structure. All efforts along these lines will strengthen the Army community and we will attain the Ready and Resilient posture the service is training toward.”

One Army website defines resilience as the “mental, physical, emotional and behavioral ability to face and cope with adversity, adapt to change, recover, and learn and grow from setbacks.” Achieving that capability requires a unified effort from military leaders down to the squad level and various community support agencies who are responsible for training/education, maintaining awareness and providing assistance whenever it’s needed.

Service members of all ranks also need to be aware of the value of their service, what help they can count on while attempting to achieve their goals or overcome an obstacle, and how they can be made stronger by focusing on the positive versus dwelling on the negative. Much of that is shaped by the sense of teamwork and pride in service they feel from the moment they become a recruit to the time they leave the service.

“The symposium provided an opportunity for open dialogue about this integration process; how the entire team shapes resiliency and makes our warfighters stronger in the long run,” Pyramides said.

“The synchronization of efforts and programs is critical to preventing stressors from escalating into crisis or adverse outcomes,” she continued. “It impacts key issues like suicide prevention, elimination of sexual assaults, post-traumatic stress disorder, frequent deployments and so much more. Statistics indicate we’re on the right track. We’ve seen a reduction in injuries and a rise in the number of individuals seeking specialized assistance and counseling more frequently. The level of leader engagement is increasing, and in general, we are in a better state physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.

“The benefit of what we’re doing here and across the Army is unquestionable, in my opinion,” the master sergeant concluded, “We’re getting a good response from the symposium participants, and I hope this discussion will reinvigorate existing efforts and snowball into more teaching, teambuilding and mentoring opportunities.”

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