Assisting in personal hardships: the RTA program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

In the U.S. Air Force, the four pillars of resilience are mental, physical, social, and spiritual wellbeing. These four pillars are the foundation of the Air Force Resilience Training Program used by Resilience Training Assistants and Master Resilience Trainers to help Airmen overcome challenges in their everyday lives.

An RTA is an Airman who is trained to aid other Airmen in developing resiliency skills.

“RTAs learn these skills so they can see that person who may be down a little bit and they can help and watch that person bounce back up,” said Chris Hargis, the 97th Air Mobility Wing community support coordinator. “They get a sense of accomplishment from knowing that they have helped somebody.”

Hargis is evolving the RTA program’s training to advance Airmen’s knowledge when helping fellow wingmen.

“We've combined the RTA program with the violence prevention facilitator's cause and now we do it as one course,” said Hargis. “That gives them a little bit more expertise to fall back on to help with situations.”

After an Airman finishes RTA training requirements, they have the opportunity to become a Master Resilience Trainer.   

“A Master Resilience Trainer provides the tools that help others through adversity,” said Master Sgt. Claudia Edwards, a MRT assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron. “We strive to relate and give real-life examples of challenges that may be encountered throughout their career or life, along with coping skills. Ultimately, this builds on core competencies and opens the dialogue revolving around resilience.”

An MRT helps Airmen develop into an RTA. To become an MRT, first an Airman has to train as an RTA and learn to teach classes by shadowing MRTs. After shadowing, the next step is to attend a 5-day course at Maxwell-Gunter AFB, Alabama, to receive the certification.

“The biggest benefits are being able to engage with new Airmen, having very organic discussions on what resilience means to them, and finding ways that promote a work-life balance,” said Edwards.

Having the skills of an RTA can help Airmen better manage hardships, recognize daily stresses of life, and provide the opportunity to connect with others.

“Do it. Become an RTA,” said Edwards. “You get what you give in this training and you can find joy in discovering that through shared experiences. More importantly, you may have just helped someone overcome a personal hardship.”

To learn more about Air Force Resilience Training, or for information about becoming an RTA, contact the community support coordinator at (580) 481-5824.