HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

NJ National Guard chaplains, assistants train for trauma

Chaplains, left to right, Army Lt. Col. Wilfredo Santiago, Air Force Lt. Col. Yaakov Bindell and Army Capt. Joshua Cox, from the Army Support Activity Fort Dix, the 108th Wing and the 72nd Field Artillery Brigade respectively, discuss their list of things for the lesson during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 14, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Chaplains, left to right, Army Lt. Col. Wilfredo Santiago, Air Force Lt. Col. Yaakov Bindell and Army Capt. Joshua Cox, from the Army Support Activity Fort Dix, the 108th Wing and the 72nd Field Artillery Brigade respectively, discuss their list of things for the lesson during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 14, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robledo, a future chaplain assistant from the 108th Wing, left, Army Pfc. Mahalia Reevey, a chaplain's assistant from the 117th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, center left, Army 1st Lt. Joseph Del Valle, a chaplain from the 102nd Cavalry Regimnet, and an instructor from (AMEDDC), are waiting to start the scenario discussion during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robledo, a future chaplain assistant from the 108th Wing, left, Army Pfc. Mahalia Reevey, a chaplain's assistant from the 117th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, center left, Army 1st Lt. Joseph Del Valle, a chaplain from the 102nd Cavalry Regimnet, and an instructor from (AMEDDC), are waiting to start the scenario discussion during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Army and Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from all over N.J., sit at a simulated discussion during the Traumatic Event Management course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion took place after a fictitious plane crash. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Army and Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from all over N.J., sit at a simulated discussion during the Traumatic Event Management course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion took place after a fictitious plane crash. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robledo, a future chaplain assistant from the 108th Wing, facilitates a simulated discussion during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion took place after a fictitious plane crash. The Army's TEM course is a week long and focuses on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course focuses on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robledo, a future chaplain assistant from the 108th Wing, facilitates a simulated discussion during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion took place after a fictitious plane crash. The Army's TEM course is a week long and focuses on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course focuses on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Army and Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from all over N.J., sit at a simulated discussion during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion took place after a fictitious plane crash and the members each had different roles to portray. In the center, Army Capt. Shawn Found, a chaplain from the 117th Combat Sustainment Support battalion, plays a character who doesn't want to participate and acts rude during the discussion. The Army's TEM course is a week long and focuses on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course focuses on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Army and Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from all over N.J., sit at a simulated discussion during the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion took place after a fictitious plane crash and the members each had different roles to portray. In the center, Army Capt. Shawn Found, a chaplain from the 117th Combat Sustainment Support battalion, plays a character who doesn't want to participate and acts rude during the discussion. The Army's TEM course is a week long and focuses on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course focuses on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robledo, a future chaplain assistant from the 108th Wing, helps Army Sgt. Xochi Risco, a chaplain assistant from the 42nd Regional Support Group, with her simulated distress during the Traumatic Event Management course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion involved role playing and took place after a fictitious plane crash. Risco played a personwho was heavily effective by the crisis, and walked away from the discussion. Robledo was a facilitator for the scenario and followed right after Risco to console her. The Army's TEM course is a week long and focuses on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course focuses on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robledo, a future chaplain assistant from the 108th Wing, helps Army Sgt. Xochi Risco, a chaplain assistant from the 42nd Regional Support Group, with her simulated distress during the Traumatic Event Management course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The scenario discussion involved role playing and took place after a fictitious plane crash. Risco played a personwho was heavily effective by the crisis, and walked away from the discussion. Robledo was a facilitator for the scenario and followed right after Risco to console her. The Army's TEM course is a week long and focuses on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course focuses on group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Army and Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from all over N.J., pose for a picture at the end of the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Army and Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from all over N.J., pose for a picture at the end of the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Airmen from the 108th Wing chaplain office pose for a picture at the end of the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Airmen from the 108th Wing chaplain office pose for a picture at the end of the Traumatic Event Management Course Jan. 16, 2015, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Army's TEM course was a week long and focused on unit cohesion and effectiveness to help manage crisis situations. The course used group activities and role playing to reinforce the lessons. At the end of the week, the students are able to take what they learned and bring it back to their units. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --   "In our field, we're given a lot of training on counseling and pastoral skills," said Capt. David Kahler, a 108th Wing chaplain. "This training was specific to taking care of our Airmen. It helped me to look back on some traumatic events that have happened over my time as a chaplain. Going forward, I have the tools now where I can create better traumatic event management plans for whoever I might be serving under."
 
  From Jan. 12 to Jan. 16, Kahler and other chaplains and chaplain assistants, both Air Force and Army from all over New Jersey, participated in the Army's Traumatic Event Management course held here at the Joint Force Headquarters building.
 
  The TEM course has been around for four and half years and was created by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in San Antonio. The facility researched and gathered data to create a model for managing crisis situations.
 
  "The goal is to enhance unit cohesion and effectiveness, said Val Wilson, a training specialist for the TEM course. "Feedback received said it was extremely beneficial, when bad things happened, individuals who took the course had a plan and knew what was going on with the military members."
 
  Annually, the class holds six resident training courses in San Antonio and four scheduled mobile trainings to places such as Germany, Hawaii and Korea. They will go to units who have requested for the course, but not all units know about it.
 
  "Word spreads. Other folks will talk about this training and say, 'Hey this was excellent because it prepares us for crisis management,'" said Wilson. "The National Guard is always called upon to respond to natural disasters. This training fits that requirement for them."
 
  Lt. Col. Yaakov Bindell, the 108th Wing chaplain and the state support chaplain, was the one to coordinate this training session. He contacted all the units in New Jersey and notified them of this training. From there, anyone available and motivated showed up on the first day. The class had 24 members who were separated into four groups.
 
  "We do a lot of small group work," said Michael J. Hagan, another training specialist. "The focus is applying their knowledge to our program versus us teaching them something brand new. We try not to do a lot of lecture."
 
  The groups had many assignments involving discussions to come up with plans or solutions. A lot of emphasis was put on being active and preparing for the unknown.

  "Start training for trauma before it happens not waiting until it happens and trying to figure out what to do then," said Hagan. "The more preparation you have beforehand, the easier it is to manage and go through the trauma when it does happen."

  Each member had the opportunity to voice their opinion and input their experience. Role playing was the key way to incorporate hands on learning. Immediate feedback between classmates reinforced the ideas discussed during the week.

  "I enjoyed the group work, especially the role-playing," said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robledo, a 108th Wing chaplain assistant. "My absolute favorite part was when we got to come together as a group and teach the class. It was so much fun."

  "Each group was given a different assignment from sleep hygiene class to stress management," said Hagan, another training specialist. "They'll take these general topics and have an hour to put together a 12 minute presentation. Not just briefing someone, but really training them."

  At the end of the week, the training proved to be very beneficial.

  "This woke up the importance of really knowing your resources," said Robledo. "You'll never know when you might need to pull them out for someone or even yourself. Something so simple can make the greatest difference. I feel confident that if there was an event to happen, we'll be able to respond."

  "We challenged them from day one," said Wilson. "This group got really involved, the training has been excellent."