IWTC Virginia Beach Employs Warrior Toughness to Support Mental Health
24 June 2022
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –
Intelligence Specialist Chief Wade Bowman, assigned to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Virginia Beach, has been a vital component of the command's Warrior Toughness (WT) program and has helped usher in a mindset focused on encouraging mental health awareness.
Bowman and his team utilize monthly newsletters to provide Navy staff members and students with current information regarding the WT program while highlighting the many resources readily available to Sailors. In addition to the monthly newsletter articles, Bowman and his team implemented a WT program calendar for May, designed by Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Sydney Huisman, aligning the new initiative with National Mental Health Awareness Month.
“The command has taken an approach of hitting touchpoints within the student and staff's daily work week to implement the different ‘Body, Mind, Soul" aspects of Warrior Toughness,’” said Bowman. “Additionally, IWTC Virginia Beach continues integrating other programs into the fold like the Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee (MCHC) and Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) to bolster a sense of pride and soul into the ship, shipmate, self-environment."
Bowman reiterated that the Navy has one of the highest suicide ratings of any service. In recent months, there have been many incidents on the waterfront that have pushed senior leadership to address the ongoing issue.
“Integrating the pillars of Warrior Toughness and allowing the program to take hold in our Sailors positively is how we can take preventative measures from more shipmates taking their lives,” said Bowman. “We must conduct ‘Buddy Checks’ not just during this month but also every month. This mission cannot fail, and as leaders, we must build up our team so that they will rise to the challenge.”
Although the WT program is still considered a relatively new initiative, Bowman believes it is heading in a positive direction and will be around for a long time.
“The Navy has recently taken a modern approach to many of its programs by leveraging tools such as the Warrior Toughness application,” said Bowman. “It is undoubtedly a step in the right direction and has helped establish a sense of heritage, while also remembering where our Navy has been, where we are going, and finally provide the grit needed to persevere through the challenges ahead.”
Intelligence Specialist Master Chief Aubrey Gillespie, IWTC Virginia Beach Senior Enlisted Leader, said, “Supporting each other and staying focused on mental health starts with the small stuff. The WT calendar is an excellent way for everyone to do a quick self-check daily. If we don’t take time to think about body, mind, soul, then nothing will ever change.”
IWTC Virginia Beach currently offers 56 courses of instruction in information technology, cryptology, and intelligence with an instructor and support staff of 278 military, civilian, and contract members who train over 6,600 students every year at five training sites in the Hampton Roads area. It is one of four schoolhouses for the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) and also oversees learning sites at Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida; Kings Bay, Georgia; and Groton, Connecticut to continue aligning information warfare community training.