Two USAFA Chaplains and two cadets recently attended the 116th Jewish War Veterans Convention to brief the US Air Force Academy’s religious respect program and give “insight into the life of a Jewish cadet.”
Jewish Chaplain (Maj.) Joshua Narrowe and Protestant Chaplain (Capt.) Shawn Menchion represented the Academy’s Chaplain Corps at the convention. Cadet 2nd Class Jolie Grossman from Cadet Squadron 23 and Cadet 3rd Class David Harris from CS 11 also attended to provide their perspective as cadets.
Within the article Chaplain Narrowe made an observation many seem to forget: The Academy is a college, and it draws 18-year-olds from all corners of the American society. USAFA then has to train them — and they get a whole six weeks before they enter the cadet wing.
The Academy itself has a wide variety of Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion air force, atheism, Buddhism, Chaplain, christian, Church and State, Constitution, david harris, Hindu, Islam, Jewish, jolie grossman, joshua narrowe, mikey weinstein, Military, MRFF, pagan, Religion, religious freedom, shawn menchion, USAFA
An interesting set of articles in the UK Guardian notes the role of religion in the military in Afghanistan. The articles were written by Riazat Butt, who is reportedly traveling through Afghanistan with Army Chaplains.
The tone of her first article, from the British outpost at Camp Bastion, implies that the majority of British servicemembers eschew religion except for the rituals associated with the loss of a comrade.
Last Wednesday evening, thousands of troops gathered to remember Lt Daniel John Clack…in a 30-minute ceremony that wove together Christian and military liturgy. For many in attendance, the vigils will be their only regular exposure to religion whether on deployment or in Civvy Street.
The memorial monument bears a shining cross made from expended shell casings.
British Sergeant Ryan Coleman described the attitude this way: Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion Afghanistan, british, camp bastion, camp leatherneck, chapel, Chaplain, christian, daniel clack, harbour, Iraq, marines, Military, Religion, religious freedom, riazat butt, ryan coleman
The US military pays certain career fields “bonuses” and other incentive pays for a fairly simple reason: to keep people in the military who would otherwise make far more money outside of it. Some have complained, then, when the economy turns: For example, when the airline industry took a dive, some questioned what reason there could be for giving military pilots incentive pay.
The Air Force Times claims the “commercial pilot job market” is now set “for a boom,” however.
After nearly a four-year drought of openings, airlines are predicting they will hire more pilots in the next decade than they ever have. Aircraft maker Boeing forecasts a need for 466,650 more commercial pilots by 2029 — an average of 23,300 a year.
They also noted that changes in the Air Force culture may affect Read more…
US Army Sergeant Justin Griffith has recently been named the “military director” of American Atheists, the group founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair (the famous atheist who tried to take on NASA).
He proudly announced that his “first act” was to arm his “fellow foxhole atheists” with “humor” to fight the “condescending theist” statement “there are no atheists in foxholes.” To wit (formatting original):
Technically, there really are no Chaplains in foxholes (in the US military.) They are designated ‘non combatants’, are not assigned a weapon, and are not supposed to be on the front lines of a battlefield. If they somehow stumbled into a foxhole, it would cease being a fighting position. It would simply be a hole…
In the hopes of this becoming a meme that eventually kills the offensive statement altogether, I pass it on to you. I encourage all of my fellow service members to use it. Use it respectfully, but fearlessly. You are right. They are wrong.
Unfortunately, Griffith is wrong, and his attempt at wit falls flat. A foxhole is not defined by whether or not a Chaplain is in it any more than a war is defined by the location of its front lines. (Ask the Soldiers in Humvees and MRAPs with Chaplains onboard if they think their vehicle is still for “fighting.”) He ignores the fact the US military does “[assign] a weapon” to Chaplains — it’s in the hands of the Chaplain’s assistant, standing right next to him, charged with protecting the Chaplain with lethal force.
Griffith also grossly misstates facts when he says Read more…
Soldiers, leaders, and Chaplains from two Army units met for a Sunday morning prayer brunch in Iraq
to celebrate the completion of…transferring operations…and to ask for God’s blessing in the journeys ahead for each unit.
The brunch also served as a reminder of the “comprehensive fitness” the Army considers essential, even before a crisis. Chaplain (Maj) Brian Seidel said
The spiritual component of [a Soldier’s] total fitness is often undervalued till crisis. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the significance of spiritual fitness till we desperately need it. But we need it for all of life, the good and the bad.
A US Army article highlights the faith and work ethic of PFC Ajmal Zada, an adherent of Islam who is observing Ramadan while still supporting his combat unit in Iraq.
Zada notes he joined the Army with trepidation over how his religious beliefs would be accepted:
“When I first joined the military, I was scared that I was not going to be allowed to practice my religion,” Zada explained, describing his initial fear of enlisting. “But my chain of command and the chaplains have all been very helpful and supportive, and I have had no problems.”
Not only has the US Army been supportive of Zada’s religious freedom, his Read more…
A writer for the Marine Corps Times bemoans the topic of “farts” in a recent article.
So here’s the news: audible farting has been banned for some Marines downrange because it offends the Afghans…
Of course, that’s not the only cultural guidance they get:
They’re not supposed to cuss because it could be misunderstood (that one goes out the window a lot). And they stay away from talking about politics, religion or girls because those Read more…
As previously noted, Fort Hood has opened the first phase of a 7 year, $27 million dollar effort to support the spiritual and resilience needs of US Army Soldiers. The campus will provide the largest facility in the US Army with the ability to serve the largest Army population in the service.
Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Don Rutherford joined III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood Command Sgt. Major Arthur L. Coleman Jr., Fort Hood chaplains and members from the community for the dedication ceremony, which officially opened The Spirit of Fort Hood Warrior and Family Chapel Campus.
Chaplain Rutherford praised the Army’s support of the Chaplaincy, which supports Army Soldiers.
“This campus is the latest Read more…
In a legal battle that has been ongoing for more than 20 years, a group of 65 Navy Chaplains has been claiming that a group of specific-faith leaders in the Navy has culled faiths different than their own from the Chaplaincy.
Attorney Arthur Schulcz had a statistician analyze Navy Chaplain promotion rates and found statistically significant preference for Catholic and liturgical Protestant denominations over “more evangelical” denominations.
Schulcz has filed for an injunction to prevent the next promotion board from meeting under the same conditions that have generated this discrepancy.
A T-34C Turbomentor, a primary training aircraft for the US Navy, crashed last Wednesday evening. The two-man crew survived. The T-34 does not have ejection seats; it is unclear if they bailed out or ditched. They were picked up by a Coast Guard helicopter that was already on patrol.
As with every military mishap, the incident will be investigated and reported on several months from now.
In a rare display of gratitude toward the Army, the organizers of “Rock Beyond Belief” called on their supporters to “thank” Fort Bragg garrison commander Col Stephen Sicinski.
Unfortunately, they still managed to insult him in the same paragraph.
Rock Beyond Belief’s earliest attempts were not taken seriously by Fort Bragg, as visitors may remember.
However, the situation has changed drastically in the months since our first approach fell through. Fort Bragg’s Garrison Commander, Colonel Sicinski has made the right call, and has now approved our event with the full government support that was promised.
The person who was responsible for seeing they “were not taken seriously” — in the words of RBB — was, of course, Col Sicinski. Still, Col Sicinski maintained the high ground and continued to say he was supportive of the atheists’ efforts — if only Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion army, atheism, chris rodda, christian, fort bragg, justin griffith, mikey weinstein, Military, MRFF, religious freedom, rock beyond belief, stephen sicinski
The Center for Atheist Research is apparently conducting a study on spirituality in the military in response to the US Army’s (criticized) Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.
The study is being used to research “the validity” of the CSF “spiritual fitness” attributes, and it appears to do so in some part by using the same questions that appeared in the military’s asssessment.
The design of the test is interesting. For example, some atheists complained about the military’s agree/disagree question about “My life has lasting meaning,” and the survey repeats that question. Later, it asks a variety of related questions which seem to be trying to determine (in a less direct way) if the person really does feel Read more…
The Stars and Stripes published a “by the numbers” of the US efforts to support the rebels in Libya. Among the list:
- 19,877 total sorties (5,357 U.S. sorties)
- 262 U.S. strike sorties that dropped ordnance
- 101 predator drone strikes
- $896 million in total cost to the U.S. (through July 31)
- $222 million in U.S. arms and fuel sales to participating allies
- $12.5 million in non-lethal U.S. aid (food, medical supplies, etc.)
- 120,000 Halal ready-to-eat meals (delivered to Benghazi in May)
It seems the US military was accommodating even to the (at least perceived) religious needs of the rebels in Libya.
An Army.mil article describes the story of the crew of a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP, that was struck by a vehicle borne IED. The three Soldiers were Sgt. Victor Pamplona (driver), Spc. Chad Mitschelen (gunner), and Sgt. Juan Montelongo (truck commander), and they were deployed to Iraq.
The article briefly covers the explosion and aftermath. One of the more interesting parts of the story is the varied reactions of the three-man crew.
Pamplona recalled the incident through a theological lens. Read more…
A military release discusses the celebration of Ramadan by local Afghan soldiers with whom the US military operates.
The article notes that Capt Daniel Petronzio, mentioned last week for his interaction with local mullahs, is “experiencing the fast firsthand.”
“With the food, it’s not so bad,” said Petronzio…”But the afternoon is definitely the most difficult time because of the dehydration…But it has shown to me what the [ANA] soldiers are going through, and that going out during the day could be dangerous. And, it’s an honor to go through the same thing they are and have a more intimate understanding of Ramadan.” Read more…