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IWTC Corry Station Event Provides Tools for Sailor Resilience

14 November 2020

From Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class Robert J. Garner

PENSACOLA, Fla, – Sailors attached to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Corry Station participated in Resiliency Day onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida, Nov. 10.
PENSACOLA, Fla, – Sailors attached to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Corry Station participated in Resiliency Day onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida, Nov. 10.

The event, organized by Lt. Richard Schroyer, was designed to increase student’s, as well as staff’s, resolve in a COVID-19 environment. With over 2600 students and staff onboard IWTC Corry Station, the day was broken up into three sessions and was conducted outside on the Corry Station’s football field and track.

The event kicked off with a sea story from a Sailor previously stationed aboard a ship all Sailors are familiar with, USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62).

“I just want to share my personal journey in strength and resiliency,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Jacqueline Wrage, an instructor attached to IWTC Corry Station. “The best way for me to cope with depression is to become a leader in the Navy–to stand and live for others.”

Resiliency Day was coupled with the Navy’s fiscal year suicide prevention training.

“We can help our shipmates by asking them directly if they are thinking of hurting themselves,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) Eddie Kyles, suicide prevention coordinator for IWTC Corry Station. “The most important thing is to listen and be compassionate to our shipmates that are combating depression.”

One Sailor discussed and demonstrated how physical activity, particularly yoga and stretching can have an impact on one’s mental resiliency.

“I have been practicing yoga for 15 years and I am honored to share some relaxation and breathing techniques today,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Seaman Sarah Weber, a student at IWTC Corry Station. “Proper breathing techniques help the body combat the fight or flight mode. I was able to practice resiliency today during the nerve racking experience of teaching all the students and staff some yoga.”

Sailors were also made aware of the many resources afforded them in the event that they need to reach out to professionals regarding their personal and confidential issues.

“We want to help all Sailors to succeed,” said Lt. James Lanford, chaplain at Corry Station. “As chaplains, we are here to support with 100% confidentiality. We also want them to connect to their faith to help practice resiliency.”

Being resilient is not unique to the Navy or other services.

“We want to build a culture of mental fitness that includes taking care of yourself and your shipmates,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Dominic Fernandez, mental health professional for Navy Region Southeast.

After the main speakers presented their respective topics, the student formation broke down into smaller groups of 20 to have a more direct conversation. The small group discussions were led by staff and started with canvassing questions. The staff had creative license to include whatever background, help or stories they saw fit and ensured a more personal training was delivered.

Closing out the day, IWTC Corry Station’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Zach McKeehan discussed how plans don’t necessarily come together and how we foster a culture of resiliency.

‘“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,’ a quote from Mike Tyson,” said McKeehan. “2020 is a challenging year for all of us. We showed resiliency in the midst of many life punches and tragedies after losing family members and shipmates. Here at Corry Station, our leaders prepare the students to practice resiliency in order to take care of themselves and their shipmates."

IWTC Corry Station is a part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT). With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.

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