Resiliency Day highlights from MDOS

by 2nd Lt. Kay Nissen
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Resiliency Day provided Ramstein Airmen with an opportunity to enhance their performance and boost their resiliency by focusing on the “Complete Airman.”

This year, unit leadership and front line supervisors were given the opportunity to develop and customize their own resiliency packages that fit the unique needs of their Airmen. Emphasis was placed on the four domains of resiliency through a highly interactive format that allowed for leadership involvement and the building of “relationships.” Helping agencies representing the four domains provided consultative services to assist leadership in shaping their unit’s resiliency packages and coordinated outside activities to supplement their unit’s in-house curriculum.

Resiliency Day was a team effort for all involved. For the physical domain, the health and wellness center worked with force support to offer extra classes at the gym. Chaplain services exhibited an open house to support the spiritual domain. The Ramstein Airman & Family Readiness Center coordinated the social domain with the bowling alley to provide free games. Mental health introduced performance based exercises in support of the mental domain.

At the Southside Fitness Center Annex, members representing the mental domain gave a unique perspective to Airmen who came to visit. The “Be the Bigger Person” exercise encouraged Airmen to perform a series of shuttle runs while wearing a mock pregnancy belly. The exercise aimed at teaching Airmen a lesson in empathy.

Also, the “Drunk Buster” exercise was directed by representatives of Alcohol and Drug Education Program and Demand Reduction Program. Airman 1st Class Michelle Camara-Caro said the purpose of the event was to educate Airmen
how alcohol severely affects their physical abilities.

Camara-Caro pointed out an Airman attempting to drive a peddle-kart while wearing “drunk” goggles as she described her favorite part of the day.

“Watching everyone attempt to drive safely while intoxicated was the best,” she said. “We want Airmen to have fun at this exercise, but ultimately the message is what’s most important.”

The third exercise, called “Performance Enhancement,” taught Airmen the importance of the four domains of resiliency in relation to their performance. The exercise consisted of a simulated combat situation requiring participants to perform various physical exercises while wearing body armor weighing 30 to 40 pounds and engage in tasks requiring mental focus and fine motor skills.

“The exercise helps Airmen understand the effects of stress on performance and offers them an opportunity through experience to learn the importance of the four domains in staying fit to fight,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Dasilva, 86th MDOS.

Airmen were educated on proper nutrition, fitness and spirituality and taught mental strategies, such as controlled breathing, imagery and self talk to improve their performance.

Senior Airmen Jacob Hastings and Scott Stevens, as well as Airman 1st Class Zachary Torres, contributed to testing Airmen by mentally distracting participants.

“I like seeing everyone have fun,” Jacobs said as he discussed his highlight for the day. “This is one of the few times you see people put on body armor and do burpees.”

Lt. Col. Alicia Matteson, officer in charge of the 86th MDOS Mental Health Clinic, and Lt. Col. Michael Slack, 86th MDOS Mental Health Flight commander, expressed the value of Resiliency Day as a whole.

“To me, the most important aspect from today is the opportunity to build our connections with our co-workers, our family and the whole community,” Matteson said.

“I realized how important the social domain is today because it cuts across all other domains,” Slack said. “The social aspect helps keep you committed to the other aspects of resiliency.”

For more information on the Ramstein Resiliency Team, events and tools, go to the Ramstein Resiliency Web page at