97 LRS supplies GRIT to Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kayla Christenson
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Leaders from the 97th Logistic Readiness Squadron instituted the GRIT program, a monthly training for junior Airmen and their supervisors at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

Operation GRIT teaches frontline supervisors how to better their leadership skills and connect with their Airmen by having a conversation focusing on resiliency and mentorship.

“GRIT is a targeted discussion about loyalty, trust, or being an agile leader, anything like that,” said Tech. Sgt. Molly Shiltz, 97th LRS non-commissioned officer in charge of quality assurance. “It creates a small group discussion that might not be happening organically. A lot of people do not want to talk about their feelings. So, GRIT causes conversations that you don't even realize that you're having, and they end up building trust and a relationship, or building rapport with one another without even realizing it.”

Building a relationship between NCOs, Senior NCOs and junior Airmen lets them know that their leadership is there if they need someone to turn to for help, whether that be a question about what career choice to make or if they are struggling personally.

“If your leadership comes to you every day showing you that they care, you're more likely to be inspired by what you're doing every day,” said Maj. Travis Rush, 97th LRS commander. “You're more likely to be excited or even willing to share issues with them if you have them.”

Rush believes taking care of the Airmen is one of the most important objectives to support the mission at AAFB and LRS because, if they are not focused while operating industrial equipment, they could hurt themselves or others. He believes these conversations need to happen and frontline supervisors need to be more involved.

“How do you find somebody that doesn't want to be found,” said Rush. “The only way that I can figure out how to do that is by leadership being involved with their people, showing that they care and getting to know their people well enough that if they look their Airmen in the eye, they can see that they are off one day or that something's upsetting them.”

Every month, 97 LRS plans a GRIT meeting starting with one topic that opens up conversation between leaders and the Airmen.

“The reason we're here is to accomplish our mission and we need to do everything we can to take care of those that are accomplishing it. That's the Airmen on the front lines,” said Rush. “There are so many reasons to simply lead and take care of each other.”