Operation GRIT 2021 toolkit: Continuing to develop resiliency, relationships

In late 2018, Operation GRIT was implemented across U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa bases.

It replaced facilitator-led training for a more hands-on approach from frontline supervisors and commanders to enable more meaningful conversations in small group discussions using Check 6 topics.

“We remain steadfast in our dedication to build for our Airmen a culture of professional warriors who strive to do right, carry out the mission, and understand they are a valued and integral part of the team,” said Wesley Yancey, USAFE – AFAFRICA Community Support Program manager. “We continue to focus on the essential character traits we want our culture and climate to be comprised of.”

In previous years, topics were released a few days prior to the month they were intended to support. This year, Operation GRIT developed a toolkit to provide all 12 Check 6 topics at one time, allowing leadership at all levels to tailor the topics more effectively to their individual work centers.

Check 6 topics focus on different aspects to promote self-awareness, improve focus and effectiveness, strengthen personal motivation, and deepen relationships with Wingmen and family.

“The goal of the toolkit is to equip leadership with powerful and proven resources needed to engage Airmen at all levels through meaningful, strategically-curated discussions that focus on the protective factors of connection, personal performance and a shared sense of purpose,” said Yancey.

According to the toolkit pamphlet, the 2021 Operation GRIT toolkit is USAFE-AFAFRICA’s holistic approach to further develop resilience and reinforce the protective factors that help the community deal more effectively with stressful situations and environments.

“The toolkit allows chaplains and religious affairs Airmen — the unit’s religious support team — to focus on topics that command, wing, and squadron leadership feel are most critical to being a ‘Wingman, Leader, and Warrior,’ and an American Airman,” said Col. Trent Davis, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chaplain. “Operation GRIT focuses on the heart of the Warrior and offers opportunities for the religious support team to speak on spiritual resilience topics that are core ingredients to America’s Airmen.”

The monthly discussions also satisfy annual training requirements of Suicide Prevention for Airmen who have completed the foundational Wingman Intervention Training. For those who haven’t, the training is still offered. 

In addition to the Check 6 topics, the toolkit includes a communication plan to facilitate a focused synchronized message each month on various social media platforms.

“When we think about the actual tradeoff for just a small cost of our time, we’re building and reinforcing the culture we want here in USAFE – AFAFRICA, which is people taking care of themselves and each other,” said Yancey. “Ask questions, learn and grow. We’re stronger together, it’s the USAFE-AFAFRICA way!”

The toolkit and additional Operation GRIT resources can be found at https://www.usafe.af.mil/GRIT/.