RAF MILDENHALL, England --
All Airmen share a few things in common, and one of them is represented by the little strip of cloth that says U.S. Air Force. Airmen are all on the same team with the same goal; accomplish the mission.
Occasionally, problems will arise that interrupt the flow of operations. Those problems can be solved efficiently, holistically and professionally with Operation GRIT. U.S. Air Forces in Europe- Air Forces Africa began piloting this program in Fall 2018.
GRIT is a program to revitalize a squadron’s resiliency and reap the benefits of a culture based on professionalism. The goal is to reduce negative behaviors while increasing positive ones.
“Commanders can implement GRIT lessons as they see fit, so they can fluidly integrate those messages into their unit,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Sweat, 100th Maintenance Squadron NCO-in-charge of non-destructive inspections. “Trainers are given broad concepts, which they use to generate lesson points that apply specifically to their sections and units. It allows them to highlight issues that may otherwise go unseen.”
Small group training focusing on discussion and discourse is the backbone of GRIT.
“GRIT moves away from more repetitive training, instead focusing on more interactive group discussions,” Sweat said. “In our squadron, we use the trickle down effect to spread the lessons to each section, with emphasis on applying the lesson specifically to your section.”
The program gives a lot of freedom to the instructor, so lessons can be both meaningful and relatable.
“When I am teaching I think about how the lesson applies to me and my feelings in those moments, so I am able to give it life,” Sweat said. “Because I have taught it, it’s engrained in me and I feel like I have a bigger tool kit with more ways to help solve problems.”
Discussion topics like wingmanship, mutual respect, accepting feedback and connectedness can prove helpful with our resiliencey and work.
“I can’t think of many jobs where you work in one hundred percent isolation,” Sweat said. “Knowing how to build on social relationships and how to better achieve a set goal with those relationships can be greatly enhanced through GRIT.”
This initiative is tailored to all Airmen. All Airmen are leaders who need courage, resolve and character, the very things this program encourages.