A US Air Force article highlights the religious ministry support team at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, where chaplains rotate to geographically separated units to provide continuous religious support:
Thousands of feet above Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, two Airmen, riding in a helicopter, wearing more than 75 pounds of gear, hover around the city before landing. These Airmen are not pararescuemen or tactical air control party—they’re a chaplain and chaplain assistant.
After landing, they travel to the nearby chapel, where Read more
A Nellis Air Force Base Air Traffic Controller, SrA Irene Nelson, recently posted an official personal interest article about his “transition” to a woman. He made the important note that he was raised in a conservative Christian household:
I grew up in a very conservative Christian household…
My parents had issues with my sexual orientation (surprise), and they took me to a gay conversion seminar when I was about 15 years old…
I spent endless hours studying the Bible and praying for God to give me clarity as to why I had these temptations or feelings. Why couldn’t he take them away? Nothing is as hard as your whole world telling you that you are wrong. Your existence is wrong.
Lost in Nelson’s religious and philosophical musings is an important point. What if the “whole world [is] telling you that you are wrong” because you are wrong? More to the point, “right” and “wrong” aren’t Read more
US Army SFC Timothy Seppala is a Religious Affairs Specialist, otherwise known as a chaplain’s assistant. He recently wrote a few articles about the chaplaincy and one on “Reconciling your Morality: Finding the Common Ground.”
The article begins with a fairly reassuring statement that morality is “highly objective”, but it soon becomes clear SFC Seppala meant the other word [emphasis added]:
The truth is that morality can come from almost anywhere and is something that is unique to each individual.
As you can imagine, having so many sources of morality leads to many different views on what is right and wrong.
In other words, Seppala mean to say morality is subjective, not objective. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the article on morality.
Seppala goes on to note that social issues divide society — and the US military reflects the society from which it is drawn, even on issues of morality [emphasis added]: Read more
A Peterson AFB chaplain assistant was featured in a recent article about his experience fighting a brain infection and going through multiple brain surgeries:
[Staff Sgt. Anthony Bean] was transferred out of the emergency room and into a facility that could handle treating brain infections. They told him he needed brain surgery.
With the seriousness of the surgery looming in his mind, Bean said he was comforted knowing his pastor and his Air Force family were reaching out to him and praying for his speedy recovery.
The article is fairly short and is an uplifting look into dealing with adversity — which makes the final “editor’s note” all the more disconcerting [formatting original]: Read more
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, repeated in the Stars and Stripes, documents a recent local Honor Flight that had just returned from helping World War II vets see the World War II memorial in Washington, DC. The article highlights Phil Crenshaw, a World War II chaplain’s assistant:
At 91, Crenshaw is the last living chaplain’s assistant from World War II, as determined by Army Sgt. Maj. Stephen Stott. Crenshaw recently served as chaplain on last week’s South Plains Honor Flight.
Crenshaw was called to active duty in 1943. He shipped out to Okinawa to assist Louis Wunneburger, the chaplain there.
The article makes a reference to an earlier Avalanche-Journal article in which Crenshaw recalled a surprise shipment the chaplain received:
One day, a merchant vessel unexpectedly delivered several boxes to Wunneberger. No one knew where they came from or who sent them.
They contained 1,000 New Testaments — all printed in Japanese. Read more
An article at Army.mil notes some religious support teams spend so much time caring for others they may neglect their own well-being:
These RST’s work hard to provide moral, ethical and spiritual leadership to their units. On a weekly basis, they care for hundreds of Soldiers from diverse backgrounds and provide counseling for issues ranging from interpersonal relationships to combat stress…
“Compassion fatigue and burnout is a very real problem,” said Read more
A few recent articles highlight the service of US military chaplains around the globe, doing far more than the stereotypical Sunday morning chapel service:
As the Army begins to open certain career fields to women, chaplains are affected: The 101st Airborne just received its first female chaplain in Chaplain (Capt) Delana Small. In so doing, she became a part of the “legendary Band of Brothers.” Her assignment was a result of the Department of Defense “Women in the Service Review.” The DoD article is full of praise for the new chaplain.
In Africa, US chaplains met with their military counterparts from nine East African nations for the “third annual…African Military Chaplain Conference” in Djibouti.
While Africa isn’t in the news too much, save a few isolated mentions, it is noteworthy that US military chaplains are engaging at the rate they have.
Another article covers the touching, yet surprising, story of the service of military chaplains at Arlington National Cemetery:
Led by senior chaplains Read more
The previously-covered bronze statue of a Chaplain comforting a Soldier has now taken its place in a memorial at Fort Jackson. Fort Jackson is the relatively new location of the US military’s combined Chaplain school. The memorial also includes a wall naming the 294 fallen Chaplains and Chaplain assistants since the Revolutionary War.