By Dawn Arden
“A day in the life of a Drill Sergeant,” may sound like the latest documentary title, but for the members of the 31st Engineer Battalion and their families, it’s a program developed to help them thrive by teaching resiliency skills. This pilot program, created by the Religious Support Office and the R2 Performance Center in conjunction with the Army Wellness Center, was tested May 2 with cadre, drill sergeants and spouses from Companies B, C and E.
The day-long program focused on providing information and techniques for a “holistic mind, body and soul approach to improving quality of life while in a training environment.”
Chaplain (Capt.) Matt Burden, 31st Engr. Bn. chaplain, said the agencies created the program for the individuals on the installation most at risk for persistent service-related stress.
“(Drill sergeants) work tremendous hours with little rest, and often times their relationships and health can be neglected,” Burden said. “We want to be intentional and proactive to mitigate struggles they may have before or while they are facing them.”
In all, 48 individuals attended the training.
Sgt. 1st Class Robyn Messineo, 31st Engr. Bn. Operations noncommissioned officer in charge, said some had reservations about attending the course, but the mindset changed once they got started.
“By the end of the day everyone was enjoying the training and were actively involved in the group discussion,” he said.
Although the majority of attendees were Soldiers, spouses were encouraged to attend. Sasha Green, military spouse, said she learned a lot during the day and hopes more spouses will be able to make it out for future sessions.
“I attended this event because I wanted to get a better understanding of what my husband goes through on a daily basis,” Green said. “I absolutely think spouses should attend this event.”
She said the course taught her ways to minimize stressors, a tool all spouses can benefit from.
Burden said the program received positive feedback and built strong espirit de corps among their team.
“We hoped to strengthen personal and family resiliency, and I do believe we achieved many of those marks,” he said. “(A couple of Soldiers) even (requested) additional training for their permanent party in ‘Real Life Management,’ as well as a meal prep class for drill sergeants.”
The three agencies will be actively assessing the success of the program and the possibility of adapting and expanding it to different audiences.