Resilience Training Assistants and their impact on CAF

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. --

Do you want to acquire the tools to build and sustain a culture of comprehensively fit Airmen and families? Do you want to help address everyday stressors through local training and offer resilience skills to help enable your wingmen, your co-workers and family member to optimize performance of their day-to-day duties and responsibilities?

If you answered “Yes” to the questions above, you may want to look into becoming a Resilience Training Assistant as an additional duty.

According to the Air Force Instruction 90-506: Comprehensive Airman Fitness, fitness includes mental, physical, social, and spiritual domains and is not a stand-alone program or specified training class. Instead, CAF is a cultural shift in how we view and maintain fitness in a more comprehensive manner and enables Airmen to hold each other accountable against Air Force Core Values. CAF provides an integrated framework that encompasses many cross-functional education and training efforts, activities, programs, and other equities that play a contributory role in sustaining a fit, resilient, and ready force. Leaders and individuals throughout the force must understand, promote, and support CAF.

CAF is a holistic approach to develop over-arching Airman fitness and resilience, with “Airman” referring to military, civilian and family members.

“I feel the RTA is the most important role [in CAF process]. They are the peers within the work centers,” said Master Sgt. Raina Cavalera, 707th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing Career Assistance Advisor and Resiliency lead for the Wing. “They are accessible. They are approachable.”

RTAs assists installation Master Resiliency Trainers in delivering unit-resilience training. They deliver small group training, normally not to exceed 10 participants and more than one skill in any one session.

“As the wing MRT, I provide First Term Airmen Center resilience training, Individual Resilience Skills Training and offer resilience training for units and family member as requested,” said Cavalera. “I also conduct the train-the-trainer courses for the installation RTAs.”

To become an RTA, individuals must first be selected by their leadership.

“Selection can come from anyone and we want volunteers too,” Cavalera said. “I believe the position is best suited when ‘selection’ comes from peers and those who have recognized that the selectee is living and breathing the elements of resiliency. The first sergeant will conduct a quality force review, but my belief is we want some of our team to have ‘rough’ patches because they are exercising their resiliency skills even more so.”

RTA training is a three-day course delivered locally by an MRT designed to produce additional local resources to assist instruction of resilience skills. 

“[Upon completion], the RTA can assist teaching in FTAC and conduct small group discussions within the unit (officially and unofficially),” said Cavalera.

Key spouse appointees may also be used as RTAs for assigned unit spouses as well.

“The RTA course is a wonderful program for our Key Spouses,” said Melody Gillinger, a 70th ISRW wing staff key spouse representative. “Resilience in life is very important. It gives a person the ability to withstand, recover and/or grow in the face of stressors and changing demands. The training will help Key Spouses recognize someone that might be experiencing adversity and be able to help them buffer the adverse effects of stressful life events such as spouse deployments or a death in the family.”

All regular Air Force units will conduct a minimum of two Wingman Days per calendar year, per AFI 90-506, which will emphasize information awareness, accountability, team-building, and communication skills for selected topics.

Cavalera helped the program get off its feet and it has now gained momentum.

"We have momentum now and a healthy MRT team to get the RTA team robust,” Cavalera added. “The 70th ISR Wing currently has 50 RTAs.”

For more information about the Resilience Training Assistant additional duty or how to become one, please contact your units MRT.  If there is no MRT available, the individual can contact Cavalera as the lead POC for this initiative.