NEW ORLEANS --
OSCAR, Operational Stress Control and Readiness, is an official Marine Corps program that provides Marines and sailors with knowledge to identify, support and advise service members with combat and operational stress reactions.
Marine Forces Reserve, New Orleans, hosted an OSCAR train-the-trainer course from March 12-16, 2018. The OSCAR train-the-trainer course is a program that supports the Combat and Operational Stress Control program requirement and focuses on stress management related topics that reinforce COSC.
“The main purpose behind the program is to have members that are able to be the eyes and ears of the commander,” said Agnieszka Laczynski, a prevention specialist with Marine Corps Community Services, MARFORRES. “They are the ones that have to get to know the service members and look for different signs that demonstrate any stress or anything that could be causing stress to the Marines and sailors.”
There are three certifications that a Marine or sailor can obtain by attending the MARFORRES OSCAR train-the-trainer course.
By attending at least one day of training a service member can become an OSCAR team member. Team members have the ability to act as sensors for the commander by noticing small changes in the behavior of Marines and sailors and taking action early.
If a service member attends the first four days of training, without completing the teach-back qualification, they are qualified as an advanced OSCAR team member. Advanced team members have the ability to conduct hip pocket briefings.
To become an official OSCAR trainer, a service member is required to attend the full five-day train-the-trainer course, including conducting supervised unit team training on the final day as part of the certification. Trainers have all the abilities of a team member and have authorization to train other team members.
“We offer this training once a year,” Laczynski, said “The command selects their Marine or sailor, somebody that is mature enough to handle the content and is an E-5 or above. We train all active duty, Inspector Instructor staff and Reserve service members, so it benefits everyone. It is recommended to focus on the I&I staff because they are at the units all the time and have more of an opportunity to get to know the service members. Then when the trainer goes back to their station, they choose their OSCAR team members and expand their team.”
Each battalion or squadron equivalent command is required to train, certify and maintain an OSCAR team. An OSCAR team is required to consist of at least 5 percent of the unit’s personnel or a minimum of 20 service members, whichever is greater, but it is not yet an inspectable item.
“Because it is a battalion requirement, the challenge behind it is to make sure the commander disperses the team members throughout the battalion to all the companies and detachments,” Laczynski said.
The OSCAR program is an essential part of amplifying preservation and readiness through prevention, identification and early intervention of combat and operational stress issues, when a Marine or sailor is deployed, or in garrison.
For more information on the OSCAR program and how to become a part of the team, speak with your Marine Corps Community Service representative.