While many understand that Christian US military chapel services occur in locations throughout the world, some may not realize that a variety of minority faiths are represented as well.
This announcement from Balad highlights the Buddhist services beginning this month. In other locations, “earth based,” Hindu, and even atheist services are held to support the needs of local servicemembers.
The US military is made up of those of many faiths, and those faiths are practiced even within the military around the world.
Via the Buddhist Military Sangha and ArmyChaplaincy.com.
US Army Chaplain (1Lt) Daryl Thul has been supporting the National Guard Soldiers who have been working 24/7 on flood duty in Minot, North Dakota. He’s made a special effort to meet the spiritual needs of the night shift, which is often sleeping during traditional religious service times.
So he preaches a Protestant service 0245.
Attendance is good because Thul, and his assistant, Pfc. Matthew O’Brien, take the service to the troops.
“I go to the soldiers Read more
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan will begin on August 1st and continue until about the end of the month this year.
A press release from the wing chapel at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, explains the details and significance of the celebration: Read more
USAFA has its “Falcon Circle,” and just down the street Fort Carson has its unique religious “chapel” as well.
As previously noted, the Turkey Creek ranch US Army facility of Fort Carson has been used for some years to support the religious freedom of men and women in the US military of all kinds. The kind of worship? A native American sweat lodge.
Michael Hackwith is the local spiritual leader and leads the group in Read more
Articles from Iraq and Afghanistan highlight the importance of the military Chaplaincy and Chapels for US servicemembers deployed to war.
First, an Air Force article from Joint Base Balad, Iraq, notes the goals military members set in the deployed environment:
Many people on a deployment create goals such as getting in better physical shape or taking educational classes, but there is another area that is sometimes forgotten…spiritual fitness.
and the military’s remedy to the comprehensive fitness servicemembers need:
The mission of the…Wing Chapel is to ensure the free exercise of religion and promote spiritual fitness for the human weapon systems.
Chaplain (Col) George Meister explained the importance of the Chapel’s contribution to the getting the mission done: Read more
It is not uncommon for military members and their families to meet regularly with people who share their faiths (despite occasional resistance to those meetings). Marines at Camp Pendleton have met for breakfast and atheists have gathered at Fort Hood.
In Hawaii recently, an article on the local chapel at Wheeler Army Airfield noted “Brown Bag Buddhists” have been meeting to learn about the Eastern religion. The Read more
An Army article notes an innovative attempt at supporting the religious free exercise of US servicemembers in the field:
The easily deployable tent structure, also known as a “sacred shelter” by developers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, provides units with a small worship facility that can be set up rapidly in the field.
“This provides a facility for spiritual fitness, whether or not a chaplain is available, in an austere environment,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Andrew Shriver, 421st Multifunctional Medical Battalion chaplain.
The “portable chapels” were based on Chaplain Shriver’s own design from 2007 in Afghanistan for Soldiers who were constructing new FOBs. They are designed to be cheap, easy to assemble, and even have partitions so separate faiths can be exercised simultaneously.
Interestingly, when the unit at Wiesbaden, Germany, tested out the prototype, the tent had a demo set up. While a “stereotypical” religious demo might have included something like a cross, Chaplain Shriver showed a setup for an Islamic prayer room: Read more
The New York Times carries an article on Chaplain (Maj) David Bowlus, a former armor officer and current Chaplain with the US Army. Like many of the Soldiers he serves, Chaplain Bowlus has deployed eight times in the past 9 nears.
In those years, he has held syringes and gauze for a medic while praying the 23rd Psalm with a soldier shot during a raid in Mosul, Iraq. He has administered first aid and God’s word to the fighting men raked by rocket-propelled grenades when the Taliban ambushed their convoy. He has soothed grieving parents and overseen the loading of coffins for the long flight home.
Just like every other Soldier, though, the Chaplain experienced the cumulative effects of the weight of war. Read more