Building ‘super Soldiers’ through resiliency Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 May 2017

An introduction to Fort Leonard Wood's Ready and Resilient Program, part two of a two-part series.

Story and photo by Dawn Arden
Public Affairs Office

Several Fort Leonard Wood units are taking advantage of the Resilience and Performance Enhancement Training Center’s Ready and Resilient Program and seeing results in not only test scores but also graduation rates.

One basic training company seeing results from their participation,  Company D, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, is on its second cycle of using the program.

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Company D, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, has seen significant improvement in their Soldiers with the Ready and Resilient Program, according to Capt. Casey Perry, Co. D commander.

“We have seen a much higher rise in our scores from Army Physical Fitness Test 1 to APFT 2, in this cycle specifically,” said Capt. Casey Perry, Co. D commander. “We’ve had no fallouts on our 12K, no fallouts on our 16K ruck marches, and our current graduation rate stands at 94 percent.”

According to the Resilience and Performance Enhancement Training Center, the percentage of Soldiers in training passing APFT 3 has gone from 80 percent in fiscal year 2016 to 94 percent with the current cycle. In addition, 25 Soldiers earned the APFT Badge compared to 16 in 2016.

Perry said the program is not mandatory but recommends getting cadre to buy in on the idea if a unit chooses to participate.

“I got everyone to buy in on it, and we got great results. This second time around is just validating that,” he said.  “This is definitely something that we’ll continue to sustain. The resource is there, and it’s not going away as long as we continue to use it.”

One of the techniques they use that is getting a lot of attention among the units is teaching the Soldiers to verbalize what they are taught.

“Our drill sergeants on the range see and hear it working first hand,” Perry said. “They hear the trainee saying a certain mantra over and over again.”

Pvt. Christian Hecht said he has gotten the most out of the learning how to break through the mental barriers he has created for himself by using what he refers to as the 40/60 rule.

“They give us tips on calming yourself,” he said. “Ways we can focus and how we can break our mental barriers that we’ve built up, like when you start to feel exhausted and your body is telling you  to stop.”

Hecht explained it as using 40 percent of what you’re capable of with 60 percent more to go.

“After that mental barrier is broken and you’re using that 60 percent more, you feel like you can just keep going,” he said.

Pvt. 1st Class Corey Verdoorn agreed that he has found a lot of strength with the 40/60 rule, but feels the most valuable thing he has taken away is learning to channel his fear.

“The main thing I have gotten from the sports psychologist being here is to turn fears into fuel instead of letting them bog you down,” Verdoorn said. “They explained to us that the same exact physiological things you feel and emotions you feel when you’re fearful are the exact same you feel when you’re excited. If you’re able to switch your thinking, it will help you move through events a lot easier.”

Perry said the difference in morale between previous cycles and the ones where the program was implemented is worth the extra effort.

“I’m sending people to the clinic to get treated for maybe bone sprains and such, but I’m not sending people to behavioral health that are just giving up or showing that they can’t make it,” Perry said. “Everyone training here wants to be here and isn’t trying to figure out a way to get out of here because we’ve given them the proper motivation and tools to finish what they started.”