Phil Johndrow on Jun 29, 2017 2:09:32 PM
While I was on my third tour in Iraq, serving as the 1stCavalry Division Command Sergeant Major (CSM) and the Multi National Division – Baghdad Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Commanding General during the Iraq surge, I was involved in some of the toughest fighting in the war. There were 110,000 coalition soldiers, which at the time was the largest formation under one division colors.
We experienced tremendous losses every day. For about six months, I attended a memorial for a fallen hero almost every night – many were men and women I considered friends. I spent a lot of time in my trailer feeling the loss, sometimes allowing my own thoughts to get the best of me.
As a leader I had to set an example, and personally, I needed a way to decompress so I could get through these very difficult times in a positive way. Everyone handles post-traumatic stress (PTS) in different ways, and the way I learned to cope was through physical fitness.
From my earliest days in the Army, physical fitness had always been an important part of my life – it is part of being a soldier. During my first deployment in 2003 it wasn’t possible to stay fit in the same way I had in the past. I was patrolling the streets of Baghdad every day under bright, unwavering sunlight. It was demanding work in brutal heat.
Physical fitness helped to mitigate my PTS.
It started out simple. I did Iron Mikes as well as some running around the Forward Operating Base. I started doing push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups from trees so I could have some physical activity before I went on patrol. Staying active allowed me to be more mentally and physically focused, and helped to relieve the stress involved with being in a combat zone and dealing with loss on a daily basis.
I retired from the Army in 2011, and now work as National Director of Military and Veteran Alliances at Trident. In this role, I am often on the road, but physical fitness remains a top priority for me. When booking a hotel, I make sure there is exercise equipment available and that I arrive early enough to get in a one-hour workout.
At home, I have turned half of my garage into a gym, which gives my wife and I an opportunity to work out together. And on the weekends we find enough yardwork to keep active. I have found that when you take care of yourself physically, it has positive effects on other parts of your life. While these may seem like little things, they have all made a positive impact on my PTS.
Source: This article from USAJOB.
Dr. Betty Cappelletti will walk across the stage as a graduate of Trident’s Ph.D. in Health Sciences program in July. This will be the third degree she has earned from Trident – one of only nine such alumni to hold this distinction.
Currently residing in Orange County, CA, Dr. Cappelletti keeps herself busy as the founder and director of Project A-Pulse®, a high school motivational program for students who are interested in the health sciences or careers in medicine. It’s a perfect setup for someone who is passionate about teaching and the field of health sciences.
Trident: Since you were a student at Trident, have you made moves upward in your career?
Dr. Betty Cappelletti: I am currently seeking employment at the collegiate level as a professor in health sciences and research. I hope to go into research specifically in the area of ADD, ADHD, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Trident: Do you feel that your time as a student at Trident prepared you for current professional role?
BC: Yes, I have gained so much intellectually and grown academically especially in the area of problem solving and thinking out of the box.
Trident: You earned your bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. at Trident – why did you decide to stick with us through all three degrees?
BC: I first went online to research/shop for a university that would give me the flexibility to still work full-time while getting a degree. I spoke to the Admissions Director and she answered all my questions and took the time to give me a rough schedule with the coursework necessary to complete the BSHS with a concentration in radiology. The main "carrot" for me was the personal touch from someone I never met, over the phone.
Once I signed the enrollment agreement, I was very nervous as I had never been in a virtual, online classroom and I was in my late 40's. However, after starting with Trident, I had a wonderful experience and the rest is history.
I believe I received a better education with Trident by having taken online courses than if I had been in a brick and mortar environment. I learned so much, knowledge-wise, and also about myself. I loved the learning process! The road was not easy, and at times difficult, however, looking back, I am so proud of my accomplishments and definitely not the same person I was before I began my educational journey.
Trident: Who are some of the professors that left a positive impression on you?
BC: Although I had numerous professors who are knowledgeable in their respective fields, it has to be without a doubt Dr. Frank Gomez. His wisdom and patience were unwavering throughout the Ph. D. educational process.
Trident: How would you sum up your time at Trident?
BC: As I think back on my educational pursuits (BSHS, MSHS, and Ph.D.) it has been Trident whose academic structure and flexibility, as well as faculty, that allowed me to complete my educational dream.