Holy Helos Help Chaplains FOB-Hop in Afghanistan
Chaplains in Afghanistan have routinely had to “FOB-hop,” or move from one forward operating base to another, to minister to the needs of servicemembers spread throughout the country. For example, US Army Catholic Chaplain (LtCol) Joseph Hannon travels five days a week, visiting 24 installations spread over 5,000 square miles in Afghanistan. Chaplains in another region have “launched a new version of an old program: Holy Helos.”
Navy LtCmdr Stephen M. Coates, a chaplain with RC(SW), said the program began with helicopters carrying chaplains and religious personnel from ship to ship at sea.
Using that basic concept, a similar program is being designed here to support ground troops.
The presence of Chaplains on the front line continues to be valued by troops:
“It gives Marines a chance to get involved spiritually,” said [SGT Steve] Caron… “They get to actually practice their religion with a chaplain. They don’t have to do it by themselves all the time.
“I think it should continue,” Caron added. “It keeps Marines’ morale up, keeps them motivated, keeps them thinking about other things than what they’re doing out here.”