Resilience Trainers welcome a new policy on their Duty Identifier Tab

  • Published
  • By Rebecca Ward

A new policy announced in September allows Master Resilience Trainers (MRT) and Resilience Training Assistants (RTA) continuous wear of an Authorized Duty Identifier Tab with the approval of the local program manager.  Prior to that, Airmen and Guardians who were resilience trainers could only wear their MRT or RTA tab while performing those duties.   

That’s an important distinction to Tech Sgt Eric Spillman, a Master Resiliency Training Course (MRTC) Instructor at Maxwell AFB. Not only does his Duty Identifier Tab reflect his achievement in a specialized field, it indicates his support for his fellow Airmen and Guardians.  

"Having Airmen wear this patch on a continuous basis is incredibly important because it adds an everyday resource that is readily available. MRTs provide powerful tools for Airmen of all ranks to handle life's daily stress and adversity. This peer level support is crucial for all Airmen to be able to lean on and the Duty identifier tab will make them more available for support," said Spillman.

The new policy is a welcome change for resilience trainers who see it as a way to continuously promote the programs they are passionate about. Maj Rena Sandgren, an executive in the Manpower office at the Pentagon, said she will be proud to wear it. 

“It’s a signifier to other people, that as an officer and a leader in the Department of the Air Force, that resiliency is important enough to me to become trained – to share that with my fellow Airmen,” said Sandgren.

Sandgren became a Resilience Training Assistant just a few months ago in June and describes it as part of a greater quest. She is also a certified Mindfulness Facilitator and hopes to get mindfulness training formalized in the Department of the Air Force. 

“I think our resiliency curriculum is so important because we all come from so many different places, and have so many different experiences growing up,” said Sandgren. 

She said not everyone is equipped with the same set of skills to deal with small adversities, the kind of challenges people face in everyday life.

“So, what resiliency training does is give everybody in the Department of the Air Force the same toolkit and fills in the blanks that we may have missed in our life-skills toolkit. And it helps us deal with these little adversities so that they don’t pile up into insurmountable mountains that put us into on-the-edge sort of scenarios,” said Sandgren.  

Although she doesn’t wear a uniform, Community Support Coordinator at Robins AFB, Erica Colick appreciates the significance of the MRT and RTA Duty Identifier tabs. 

“Resilience programs across many installations are unknown.  Members being permitted to dawn the RTA patch is like having a helping agency walk around [the installation] every day it is displayed," said Colick. 

By simply being visibly recognizable, Sandgren said the MRT and RTA tab can be a conduit to connection with Airmen and Guardians who may need support. 

“When they see it and need to connect with another person, they know that person is a good person to talk to. Someone who maybe is not in their chain or may trip any triggers in the formal system, but that person has some resiliency tools to share or just knows how to listen and connect with them, and sometimes that’s all people need,” said Sandgren.