As noted in his monthly “From the Chief,” Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas L. Carver, Chief of Army Chaplains, called (pdf) on his Chaplaincy corps to join him in a day of prayer and fasting on 8 April 2009, consistent with the tenets of their faith, for
the protection, preservation, and peace for our Soldiers and Families.
Chaplain Carver noted that the intent is to support the Army’s continuing focus on the trend of suicides in the US Army (as previously discussed).
In an era where the most vocal concern about religion in the military is “illegal Christian proselytizing,” Newsweek carries the opposite side of the story: a US Army soldier who was “proselytized” by the Islamic prisoners he oversaw.
Army specialist Terry Holdbrooks [of the 463rd Military Police Company] had been a guard at Guantánamo for about six months the night he had his life-altering conversation with detainee 590, a Moroccan also known as “the General” [in] early 2004… Read more…
A Tunisian-based airline crew was convicted in Italy of manslaughter following a crash-landing in the sea in 2005. The news has capitalized on the story about the captain abandoning control to his co-pilot and then praying rather than executing appropriate emergency procedures. Notably, though, the co-pilot was also convicted of the same offense and given the same sentence, though there is no allegation he did the same thing.
Even so, any concern would not be on the fact that he prayed, but on the fact that he ceased taking the proper actions to ensure the safety of his aircraft and its passengers.
As noted at a variety of sources, including the official AF news outlet, an Air Force F-22A has crashed while performing a test mission near Edwards AFB, CA. The condition of the pilot has not been released.
UPDATE: CNN, Fox, and Edwards AFB public affairs now report that the pilot was a Lockheed Martin civilian (Air Force veteran) who did not survive the crash:
Lockheed Martin said the test pilot, David Cooley, 49, of Palmdale, California, joined the company in 2003 and was a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, amidst the tragic reminder of the danger of the fighter (and test) pilot profession.
On February 27th, Chap. (Maj.) Randy Griffin of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) sponsored a Cappadocian Martyrs Run at Red Rock Canyon, Colorado Springs. More than 25 soldiers participated in the three-mile run, which was used to commemorate the memory of 40 Roman soldiers who died rather than recant their faith when ordered to do so by their governor in 313 AD.
The Chaplain noted that the story served as a challenge, noting
We can publicly live out our faith without being afraid for what we believe as Christians.
The Missionary Aviation Fellowship has received the first delivery of a new Kodiak 100, built by Quest Aircraft. The aircraft was built to specifications with input from a variety of missionary aviation organizations, including JAARS and Moody Bible Institute. Among other features, the Kodiak is designed for austere, short fields and the ability to operate on jet fuel, which is more common and cost-effective than avgas in remote locations. Quest Aircraft’s mission is to
design and manufacture a bush/utility aircraft specifically suited to the needs of missionary and humanitarian aviation organizations
For every 10 aircraft Quest sells commercially, it will deliver a subsidized aircraft to a participating aviation organization.
The MAF’s Kodiak will be ferried to Indonesia to begin service there.
Also noted at Christian Post.
B-LOC: Pronounced “bee-lock,” it is a play on the term “G-LOC,” or g-induced loss of consciousness, which is a blackout caused by loss of blood to the brain during high-g maneuvering.
B-LOC, on the other hand, is boredom-induced loss of consciousness, and may be the result of hours of mandatory briefings or even briefed as a potential threat for a very, very low-intensity sortie.
See more fighter pilot terminology at Fighter Pilot Speak.
According to the New York Times, Third Air Force has opened an investigation into an email incident that occurred in January. Col Kimberly Toney, the 501st Wing Commander, sent out a message that linked to an “inspirational” video. Complaints arose because of the religious tone of the video and other content on the host site that was reportedly derogatory to the President. Toney subsequently sent out another email apologizing for the first.
A Master Sergeant who complained to the press and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has said he may join “the [MRFF's] litigation as a plaintiff” as a result. Weinstein has called the incident “hideous and almost beyond belief” and a “textbook case” of a
pervasive pattern of constitutional abuse.
As noted at the Religion Clause.
The Stanford Progressive, a “left-leaning” student paper which boasts a circulation of “members of the Stanford community,…student residences and…community centers,” recently interviewed Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The interview, laced with profanity and transcription errors, is available here.
To the question, “what are the Officer’s Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade?”, Weinstein opined:
They are blights on America and a disgusting example of extremist prejudice and bigotry in this country.
In the interview Weinstein clearly discriminates between “evangelical” Christians and “dominionist” Christians. He says they both have “religious philosophies” that he “[hates],” and they both Read more…
As reported by the military press, Chaplain (Capt.) David Haltom and Staff Sgt. Porscha Howard are the chapel team for the Airmen at Camp Victory, Iraq. The AF Chief of Chaplains, Maj. Gen. Cecil Richardson, has noted that Chaplains in combat are sought out by deployed members:
In the AOR, the chaplain can’t walk from point A to point B without being pulled aside for a question. In fact, chaplains often spend seven to 10 hours a day counseling Airmen, hearing them ask, ‘would you pray for me?’ Read more…
As previously noted, news reports indicate that the US Army is continuing to face a tragic trend in suicides within its ranks. The trend is nearly double the rate for 2008, during which there were 138 confirmed suicides (with 5 cases still under investigation).
The Army has said it is “standing down” for suicide training, as well as “standing up” a task force to be headed by Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, a military police officer.
Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli has said that “suicide is a multi-dimensional problem and as such will take a multi-disciplinary approach to dealing with it.” McGuire will look “across all disciplines [so commanders] can have a menu of tools, of training programs and experts that he can turn to and know how to best employ.” To that end, reports indicate they are investigating suicide prevention methodologies in a variety of fields, including both mental health and the Chaplaincy. Read more…
Dong Yun Yoon’s family was killed when an F-18 crashed into his home near Miramar. His reaction brought national pity, when he asked that people not blame the pilot, one of “the treasures of our country,” but pray for him.
News reports now indicate that the Marines have fired the commander, maintenance officer, operations officer, and duty officer of the squadron; nine others were also punished as a result of the crash, which has been described as “avoidable.” There are not yet any indications that the pilot was punished; he was criticized for not properly referencing his checklist, but also credited for staying with the aircraft well after he should have ejected in an attempt to steer the aircraft to a nearby canyon.
Contributing to the death of innocents–but surviving oneself–is one of the greatest fears a pilot can face.
Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times has written an article revisiting the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s complaints over religious content in Army suicide prevention material, as previously discussed here.
The article mentions that Michael Weinstein was able to meet with Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz. It is a potential irony that Schwartz, like Weinstein, is Jewish (a fact not missed at his nomination), and that his class of 1973 at the Air Force Academy was replaced by Weinstein’s class of 1977. Schwartz made no secret of his faith as a cadet and has not indicated that he experienced negative repercussions, while Weinstein claims a disturbing religious discrimination event while a cadet is the motivation behind all he does.
Weinstein reportedly said of the meeting with Schwartz
he [took] it very seriously, [and] he also acknowledged that there is a problem
Weinstein previously called Schwartz a “yes man” unable to “stand up” for what was right:
Because there’s a Jew in there, that’s supposed to make everything fine? It’s not fine. It doesn’t make a difference that he’s there. The reason to me is that he’s a yes man. He’s not going to stand up to do what needs to be done. But we’ll see.
Lichtblau notes that groups that oppose the MRFF fear an overreaction in the opposite direction.