BAMBERG, Germany ― The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not only brought strain and stress to Army units, but also to Army families. However, Army units like the 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, are taking a proactive step toward assisting families in managing the strain and stress with Master Resiliency Training.
Staff Sgt. Robert Norton, a combat medic and the medical platoon sergeant for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th STB, provided MRT here April 25 to a group of spouses.
“MRT is all about overcoming hardships,” Sergeant Norton said. “The overall mission of MRT is to improve physical and mental mind-state during this time of war and high operational tempo and to help keep families together and increase our resilience.”
Though usually given to Soldiers, MRT’s value also extends to families, Sergeant Norton said.
“It helps (family members) see what their spouse is going through on the military side and to help them understand some of the hardships of the military they may not have understood before,” he said.
Christine Godbee, an MRT participant and the wife of 16th STB Command Sgt. Maj. Johnny Godbee, echoed Sergeant Norton’s conclusions.
“I think everybody should go through it. (MRT) can help you in civilian life and in military life. You (and your spouse) both have that knowledge and you can use it. It helps you communicate, deal with each other, support each other,” Mrs. Godbee said.
Specifically, Sergeant Norton saw MRT teach spouses ways they can help their Soldier differentiate between work and home.
“A lot of spouses talked about how sometimes their Soldier or spouse would bring their work home and it seemed like they were never off duty,” he said. “And so they learned how to help us shut that off and be a part of the family.”
One aspect of MRT Mrs. Godbee found particularly valuable was the concept of “icebergs.”
“Icebergs are something that are near and dear to my heart, but may not be obvious and so others may rub on it and not know it because it is below the surface. So it becomes easy to be rubbed the wrong way and for others to set me off without knowing what they’ve done,” she said.
Overall, Mrs. Godbee said she believes MRT helped everyone understand the importance of finding the positive in any situation.
“We learned to hunt for the good stuff, to look for the better stuff in any situation and to be optimistic,” Mrs. Godbee said.
And Sergeant Norton said the training overall was a success.
“I would definitely recommend (MRT) for spouses and teenage children to help people and family members learn things about each other they didn’t know about before,” he said.