Last September, Chris Rodda, a researcher for Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote an article enumerating her “Top Ten” list of Christian travesties in the US military, emphasizing acts which “convince the Muslims we’re on a crusade.” A less combative version of this same list was re-published in the US Air Force’s Attitudes Aren’t Free just a few weeks ago.
At number 8, Rodda lists this rather interesting way in which the US military is showing the Muslim world America is on a crusade: Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion Afghanistan, chapel, Chaplain, chris rodda, Church and State, conspiracy, easter, Iraq, Islam, Jewish, mikey weinstein, Military, MRFF, Public Expression, Religion
The US Air Force flew an A-10 Thunderbolt II on an alternative fuel last week. The fuel was a 50/50 mix of standard JP-8 fuel and a biomass-derived jet fuel blend. The effort is one of several to fly a variety of US military aircraft on synthetic and alternative fuels.
Replacing or augmenting military fuel supplies is far more complex than just “seeing if it works.” Long test programs are often necessary to analyze Read more…
Many military members who deploy have “kits” of items that they take with them, some for personal reasons, other for professional. Some military branches and specialties also issue kits with required items for the servicemembers in those fields.
Chaplains are no exception. Over at the Army Chaplaincy Blog, Chaplain Daniel Sparks has a picture and list of the things he packs in his “Chaplain’s Kit” when he deploys. While size and weight are certainly important, Sparks also mentions another important factor: Read more…
The ministry team of Chaplain (Capt) Steve Fisher and his assistant SSgt Dewey Landers made a special point in Iraq to minister to the Air Force Security Forces on base. They are one of the few units that is called upon to perform missions “outside the wire.”
The response of the members of the unit to the Chaplain’s visit was an important indicator of the significance of Chaplains in the military. From their Chief, Michael Fluck: Read more…
It is not uncommon for people of a religious faith–Christian or not–to occasionally speak of the difficulty of celebrating their faith while in the military. This is particularly true in intense training environments, as well as the obvious restricted areas of combat. The military culture is sometimes hostile (even unintentionally) to the spirit of a religious faith, and the logistical environment sometimes restricts the ability to fully exercise one’s faith.
Despite the challenges encountered, it is important to highlight the fact that the US military has a responsive environment of both commanders and Chaplains to see to the religious needs of all of its servicemembers. Though there are obvious logistical hurdles in some cases, there is no institutional support for or bias against any particular faith. In fact, the opposite is true.
For example, the Aleph Institute, a DoD Chaplain endorsing organization and valuable support agency for Jews in the US military, recently said they had to come to the rescue of a Soldier seeking spiritual resources, and because of “red tape” a Jewish Soldier has “almost no chance” of getting spiritual resources like prayer books and kosher field rations.
History, however, demonstrates the opposite. In fact, Jewish military Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion atheism, Buddhism, chapel, Chaplain, Church and State, Iraq, Islam, Jewish, Military, palm sunday, Religion, seder
Sgt David Travis Bishop was court-martialed in August 2009 for being AWOL and disobeying orders when he missed his unit’s deployment to Afghanistan. Bishop had said he began to read his Bible in Iraq and came to believe that war was wrong, but did not realize he could apply for conscientious objector status.
According to news reports, Bishop has now been released from custody, in part due to clemency.
A Fort Leavenworth chapel program is using a Biblical approach to helping returning Soldiers and their families “reunite” for the long term. The program is called “Faith-Based Solutions to the Combat Experience” and uses two Military Ministry (links) products: When War Comes Home and The Combat Trauma Healing Manual.
The program is open to all and is purely a military Chapel function. The goal isn’t psychological healing, but an intimate and faith-based effort to strengthen family relationships:
Facilitators are looking at reintegration into society after combat from a personal, faith-based perspective.
Chaplain (LtCol) Mike Thompson lauded the value of faith in the approach, Read more…
Air Force Maj Gen (Ret) Robert White died in Florida this past week. He was a P-51 pilot in World War II before eventually becoming famous as an X-15 pilot. He also served during the Korean War and flew combat sorties in Vietnam.
White achieved Mach 6 in the X-15 and also became the first “winged astronaut” when he flew the X-15 to a height of 314,750 feet, more than the 50 mile requirement for the Air Force to bestow astronaut status.
The Washington Post has an interesting article on a Muslim American Soldier who is engaged in “battles on friendly ground.” The article is essentially a superficial re-telling of US Army Spc Zachari Klawonn’s story, even to the point of being dismissive toward two other Muslim Soldiers (Capt. Rhana Kurdi and Sgt. Fahad Kamal) who gave statements supportive of the Army with regard to their faith.
According to the article, Klawonn has filed “complaint after complaint with his commanders.” (It is unclear if this is inclusive of the “20 complaints” he has filed with the equal opportunity office.) He believes he has mild depression and has seen a psychologist a half dozen times since joining the Army. When he enlisted, he was “grilled” by those at his mosque who wanted to know how he could kill Muslims, which was “forbidden.”
Klawonn was allegedly told by superiors that he needed to be careful, because he fit the same profile as Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan–a Muslim soldier disgruntled with the Army, complete with a psychological history and close associates who seem to believe his military service is incompatible with Islam. While Klawonn may have been understandably Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion army, cair, Church and State, fahad kamal, fort hood, Islam, mikey weinstein, Military, MRFF, nidal malik hasan, Public Expression, Religion, rhana kurdi, zachari klawonn
The US Air Force Academy announced that Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be the commencement speaker at the 2010 USAFA graduation.
The news release notes that this is the first time the CJCS has addressed the USAFA graduation, a position more often filled by the President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Air Force.
Several articles have recently highlighted the accomplishments of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew a variety of non-combat roles during World War II with the goal of allowing men to deploy to war. In July 2009, President Obama signed a bill awarding the group the Congressional Gold Medal for their accomplishments. A few weeks ago more than 200 gathered for a presentation of the medal to the group.
What some may not realize is at least one WASP played an integral part in the early days of missionary aviation, including a direct role in the Read more…
Updated with NPR story.
Capt Tejdeep Singh Rattan recently completed US Army officer basic training. He and Dr. Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi are Sikhs who have been granted waivers to Army uniform standards allowing them to keep their beard, hair, and turbans, as required by their religious faith.
Two of the more interesting parts of the story are Rattan’s perspective on others’ perceptions, as well as the steps his trainers took to prevent misconceptions about who Rattan was. Rattan said: Read more…
The Sacramento Bee has a collection of high-quality photos of Chaplains at work in Afghanistan. Included are
- Catholic Chaplain (Capt) Carl Subler, shown delivering Mass and praying prior to a convoy (previously covered here)
- Chaplain Gary Lewis, shown in a FOB Chapel, complete with Chapel library
- Chaplain (Maj) Shon Neyland, shown singing in a Gospel service
- Chaplain (Capt) Loren Aderhold, shown delivering a sermon
- Chaplain (Capt) Kevin Burton, shown both counseling and using his electrician’s experience
and an interesting picture of Chaplain’s assistant Sgt. Oscar Santiago, shown carrying a rifle in one hand and a guitar in the other.
Via the Army Chaplaincy blog.
Two F/A-18E Super Hornet pilots were grounded–permanently–after a board decided that their flyby of a college football game was intentionally too low and thus “unsafe.” A Military Times article states that the pilots performed a flyby of the November 7, 2009 Georgia Tech v Wake Forest game below the 1,000 foot minimum set by Navy rules…and then reported the incident after landing. (The flyby in question is on YouTube, which also lists the names of the pilots and indicates they were both 96 grads of Georgia Tech. The flyby was low-speed, gear down, and high power.)
The pilots went before a Naval Aviator Evaluation Board, which is likely Read more…
A recent article at the Military Times suggests its “time to bail” on the Navy version of the JSF (the F-35C). (The online article is a lead-in to a longer story in the print version of the Military Times.) The proposal instead is that the Navy purchase more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.
This would not be the first time the Navy “bailed” on a joint program. The F-111 was also supposed to be a joint program; the Navy bailed on the F-111 “B” and later acquired the F-14 instead. In the 1970s, the YF-16 and YF-17 had a “fly-off” won by the YF-16. The Navy, which was part of the program, didn’t like the single engine F-16 and instead Read more…