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The Army Ordnance School uses the Army Training and Doctrine Commandís Cadre Resilience Program to ensure its cadre members are the best they can be.

Soldiers are the lifeblood of the Army, and Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) units are the heart that provides Soldiers to the Army. The training battalions throughout TRADOC are essential to sustaining the Army’s ability to fight. They do this by taking America’s sons and daughters and making them Soldiers who are tactically and technically proficient, instilled with the Army values and warrior ethos, and ready to contribute to their first assigned units.

Training Soldiers is not an easy task and requires much dedication from a cadre of top-notch Soldiers, primarily noncommissioned officers (NCOs). To meet the unique demands placed on the cadre, TRADOC has implemented the Cadre Resilience Program to ensure that the core training base remains strong.

A Strong Training Base
The mission of TRADOC training battalions is to provide the Army with trained Soldiers. The process to get them there is not quick or easy. After 10 weeks of basic combat training, Soldiers go to advanced individual training (AIT), where they learn their military occupational specialties (MOSs). Once they have demonstrated their skills by meeting MOS qualification standards, passing a recorded Army physical fitness test, and demonstrating the behavior and discipline expected of a Soldier, they graduate and move to their first unit of assignment.

This process is successful because of the dedication and determination of the cadre that trains these Soldiers from wake-up to lights-out every training day. TRADOC is not a place where leaders can “take a knee” from the pace of the operational Army. The hours are long, the requirements are many, and the workload is heavy. However, TRADOC assignments offer the best and brightest leaders the opportunity for challenging, important, and rewarding jobs that have a lasting impact on the future of the Army.

Just as the heart must be strong to pump blood to the extremities, the training base must be strong to ensure an uninterrupted flow of Soldiers to the operational Army. In order to remain strong, the training base must have quality NCOs as drill sergeants, AIT platoon sergeants, and course instructors. The quality of the NCO has a direct correlation with the quality of the Soldier arriving at the first unit of assignment.

The NCOs who have spent time in TRADOC assignments often find that the job is personally and professionally rewarding. This leadership experience is directly linked to higher performance in future assignments and the ability to use creative and adaptive solutions to future problems in the tactical environment. After completing their TRADOC assignments, these NCOs return to the operational Army with honed leadership skills, better time-management and administrative skills to be more effective and efficient in their future positions, and a new level of pride in the professionalism of the Army and the NCO corps.

Ordnance Cadre
Ordnance School cadre members have the opportunity to work in world-class training facilities and labs with state-of-the-art equipment while training future ordnance Soldiers. The 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission Report mandated that the Ordnance School move to Fort Lee, Virginia. That decision allowed the Ordnance Corps to bring its school into the 21st Century.

The Ordnance School campus, now part of the Sustainment Center of Excellence, is designed to create a comprehensive learning and training environment. It combines both technical and tactical training to ensure that the graduating Soldiers have earned the right to wear the Ordnance regimental crest and are truly ready to make a positive contribution when they join their first units.

The Cadre Resilience Program
In early 2010, training battalions transitioned from using the Cadre Wellness Program to the Cadre Resilience Program, which is in line with the Army’s five dimensions of strength: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family. TRADOC capitalized on its recently graduated Master Resilience Trainer Course platoon sergeants to guide the development of the program.

While each TRADOC location offers unique challenges, the 143d Ordnance Battalion successfully implemented the components of the Cadre Resilience Program at the Ordnance School by focusing on the Army’s five dimensions of strength.

Physical. The physical dimension deals with performing and excelling in physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, healthy body composition, and flexibility derived through exercise, nutrition, and training. In this dimension, the cadre are afforded time to conduct physical readiness training on their own and any injured cadre member is given time and resources to rehabilitate from an injury.

Emotional. The emotional dimension is about approaching life’s challenges in a positive, optimistic way by demonstrating self-control, stamina, and good character through personal choices and actions. The Ordnance School ensures that it provides the cadre with workload predictability, flexibility for time off, and minimal disruption to family life.

To improve and maintain the cadre members’ emotional well-being, the battalion command sergeant major continually reviews duty rosters to eliminate redundant duties. NCOs in the retirement process and who no longer directly contact Soldiers are the primary staff duty NCOs. The battalion also conducts quarterly sensing sessions with the cadre and uses command climate and equal opportunity surveys to look for areas that need improvement. The battalion also encourages cadre members’ attendance at professional military education courses to ensure that they follow their optimal professional development timelines.

Social. The social dimension involves developing and maintaining trusted, valued relationships and friendships that are personally fulfilling and fostering good communication, including a comfortable exchange of ideas, views, and experiences. The 143d Ordnance Battalion differs little from operational units when it comes to social activities. Each unit holds holiday and team-building functions as well as hail and farewells. Single cadre members also have the opportunity to attend events geared toward single Soldiers.

Spiritual. The spiritual dimension focuses on strengthening a set of beliefs, principles, or values that sustain an individual beyond family, institutional, and societal sources of strength. The unit ministry teams (UMTs) in the training base are engaged in attending to the needs of the trainees and the cadre and are a cornerstone of the Cadre Resilience Program.

The 143d Ordnance Battalion UMT develops activities using elements of Army culture, such as physical fitness, esprit de corps, and competition, to draw Soldiers into the garrison chapel program and encourage spiritual growth. The UMT regularly holds the Spiritual Fitness Challenge, which is a series of arduous physical fitness events with a focus on spiritual strength and endurance.

Ordnance School cadre members are also given the opportunity to attend prayer breakfasts and luncheons conducted by the battalion and garrison UMT. These events remind Soldiers of shared faith and spiritual values. As is the tradition, Soldiers of all faiths break bread and pray together.

Family. The family dimension is about being part of a family unit that is safe, supportive, and loving and that provides the resources needed for all family members to live in a healthy and secure environment. The care of cadre includes caring for their families. The 143d Ordnance Battalion strives to ensure that all cadre members and their families have access to family readiness groups.

The battalion also offers annual retreats for married couples and single Soldiers. In the summer of 2010, the UMT conducted a married couples and single Soldier retreat at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicot, Maryland. The curriculum was based on comprehensive wellness and focused on developing spiritual discipline, physical fitness and health, and mental balance and wellness. This event included cadre members and their spouses.

The Cadre Resilience Program is one of the most important initiatives that battalion and company leaders can offer to promote the cadre’s ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and to bounce back from adversity. The Ordnance School training battalions remain committed to improving Soldier and family resilience throughout this era of persistent conflict.

It takes a special type of leader to do a job where the challenges are new and exciting every day. Being able to train new Soldiers and personally have an impact on the Army is exactly what many training unit cadre members have wanted for their careers.

The Ordnance School is committed to nurturing well-trained, disciplined, and physically fit Soldiers who live the Army values and warrior ethos. The Ordnance School is a great place to serve and a great place to be an Ordnance Soldier. Please contact the school through the Sustainment Knowledge Network for more information about how to join the Ordnance School ranks or to ask questions about how we can better serve you.

Lieutenant Colonel Sean M. Herron is the commander of the 16th Ordnance Battalion, 59th Ordnance Brigade. He has a B.S. degree from Ohio State University, an M.A. degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix, and a master of military arts and science degree from the Army Command and General Staff College.

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