FORT RILEY, Kan. – The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley hosted its quarterly Operation Victory Wellness Leaders 360 Course February 21 to March 3, 2023.
Operation Victory Wellness is a comprehensive, enduring operation to make every Soldier, civilian, and family member on Fort Riley more resilient and robust across the five dimensions of strength: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family.
The OVW Leaders 360 Course is held to focus on equipping noncommissioned officers with more ‘tools’ to assist leaders in improving their wellness, and educating their subordinates on how to do the same.
“The NCO is the key to distributing influence, so we said let’s develop a course targeting the noncommissioned officer,” said U.S. Army retired Col. Dr. Mary Lopez, a founder of 360 Military-Veterans Partnership, Inc. “The NCO is the one element in [the Army] system who looks their troops in the eye every day and says, ‘How are you doing?’ So, we gave the NCO more tools in their leader toolkit to better identify and respond to the Soldiers issues.”
During the nine-day course, Soldiers learned about stress management techniques, sleep management, journaling, diet and nutritional fitness, pain management, couples and parent-child communication, suicide prevention, and leadership, all to become more holistically fit for themselves and others around them.
“I’ve already started to utilize some of the mental tools they’ve given us and try to help anybody I can in my unit,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Kimberley Stalling, an air traffic controller assigned to Fox Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. “I’ve also done the guided imagery with Dr. Lopez, and I was able to bring a few of the Soldiers that I know needed help to join us.”
Aligning with the division’s OVW program, the course also taught Soldiers mind, body and spirit therapy techniques to assist them.
“I think Victory Wellness is leading edge,” said Anna Salazar, the CEO of 360 Military-Veterans Partnership, Inc. “To have a concept and create a place where Soldiers not only have resources right here on base, but they are advertised and utilized, it’s powerful.”
Along with OVW, the 1st Inf. Div. is also holding its ‘Big Red One Year of the NCO’, a year-long campaign dedicated to the Division’s noncommissioned officers, cultivating ownership throughout the division and developing the next generation of leaders.
“I think it’s awesome that NCOs are being highlighted by the division this year,” said Stalling. “A lot of NCO’s are overlooked because we’re the ‘backbone of the Army’ and are supposed to give, give, give to our Soldiers, so it’s nice to be noticed and awarded for our work. I think it’s a really great thing and what a lot of people need.”
During the final day of the course, over 90 Soldiers graduated, where each had the opportunity to speak about how the course impacted them. Graduates also received certificates from U.S. Army retired Brig. Gen. Steve Salazar, the president of 360 Military-Veterans Partnership, Inc., and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Clarence Raby, the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade command sergeant major, who was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
“Continue to work together as an NCO Corps— for the other leaders in the room and for the soon-to-be NCOs,” said Raby. “The Army is a great opportunity to build and rise above the rest, but you have to take care of yourself and take care of those around you.”
This work, Operation Victory Wellness: Equipping Our Leaders Now and For the Future, by SGT Alvin Conley, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.