Staying on top of resilience training at Thule AB

Tech Sgt. Anthony Thomas, 12th Space Warning Squadron, is evaluated during a teach-back portion of the Resilience Training Assistant Workshop Sept. 5-7, 2017 at Thule Air Base, Greenland. Thomas and others were certified as assistant resilience trainers during the workshop in order to provide updated annual training required for all Airman.
(Courtesy photo)

Tech Sgt. Anthony Thomas, 12th Space Warning Squadron, is evaluated during a teach-back portion of the Resilience Training Assistant Workshop Sept. 5-7, 2017 at Thule Air Base, Greenland. Thomas and others were certified as assistant resilience trainers during the workshop in order to provide updated annual training required for all Airman. (Courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Gabriel Melocoton, 821st Security Forces Squadron, performs a “teach-back” session while being evaluated to become certified as squadron-level Resilience Training Assistant during a workshop Sept. 5-7, 2017 at Thule Air Base, Greenland. Having trained assistants in remote locations is an efficient way of staying up to date on required training, said Master Sgt. April Ashjian, 21st Medical Group Physical Therapy flight superintendent, one of the master trainers for the sessions. (Courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Gabriel Melocoton, 821st Security Forces Squadron, performs a “teach-back” session while being evaluated to become certified as squadron-level Resilience Training Assistant during a workshop Sept. 5-7, 2017 at Thule Air Base, Greenland. Having trained assistants in remote locations is an efficient way of staying up to date on required training, said Master Sgt. April Ashjian, 21st Medical Group Physical Therapy flight superintendent, one of the master trainers for the sessions. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- – A pair of master resilience trainers from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, travelled to Thule Air Base, Greenland, a geographically separated unit of the 21st Space Wing, Sept. 5-7, 2017 to hold a Resilience Training Assistant Workshop.

Master Sgt. April Ashjian, 21st Medical Group Physical Therapy flight superintendent, and Maria Spencer, violence prevention integrator for 21st SW GSUs, made the trip to certify a new group of squadron-level Resilience Training Assistants.

The workshop follows a curriculum from the Air Education and Training Command. Potential trainer assistants go through a dozen modules over a three-day period on the way to certification.

“We teach them and then they teach it back to us and get feedback,” said Spencer.

There is a need for certified trainers in remote locations such as Thule AB, Ashjian said.

“Once they are trained and certified they can train others,” she said. “Then they can do training during (events) like Wingman Day and commander’s calls.”

The newly certified assistant trainers will put their skills to work during the Fall 2017 Wingman Day on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 Ashjian said.

“We teach them the skills to become more resilient,” said Spencer. “Having a healthy Air Force is really the goal.”

Airmen are required to receive four hours of resiliency training annually, said Beverly Price, 21st SW director of installation resilience operations and community support coordinator. Because of Thule’s remote location, the resilience assistant training allows this requirement to be met as needed without coordinating lengthy travel from elsewhere.

“They need training assistants to be able to keep up to date on their training,” Spencer said. “Having people there who can do it makes it more efficient and costs less.”

There are unique challenges Airmen at Thule AB face that other Airmen do not, so preparing trainers takes on added importance.

“Knowing how to be resilient comes in handy at Thule AB,” said Price. “It’s a remote site where the lack of daylight during the ‘dark season’ can disrupt sleep or circadian body rhythms.”

Seeing the conditions Airmen deal with daily at Thule AB was beneficial to the trainers.

“I didn’t understand the true remoteness of the location until I got there,” Ashjian said. “They have 24 hours a day summer and 24 hours a day winter, when it gets 70 degrees below zero, and storm season starts Sept. 15.”

Community and the wingman concept play a big role in resiliency at Thule AB, said Ashjian. The Four Pillars of Resiliency – mental, physical, social and spiritual – carry a lot of weight when looking out for each other.

“It didn’t matter what squadron you were from or where you worked,” she said. “They were like family and looked out for each other and took care of each other. It was an excellent display of the wingman concept.”

For more information on resilience skills, please contact Price at Resilience Operations, (719) 556-6768.