It is important to start by saying that 10-year-old Braydon Nichols reminded the world a few days ago that more than just Navy SEALs died in the Chinook shootdown last week. His dad died, too; Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols was the Chinook pilot. Seven other American military members died: the other 4 helicopter crew and three US Air Force Special Forces.
Stories are slowly leaking out, and the military has yet to announce more specifics on those killed. Family members, however, are telling some stories. [Updated below with names provided by the Department of Defense.]
As told by his widow, Kimberly Vaughn, Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn was a “selfless” and noble man: Read more
Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham and current Pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, has an interesting article with application to Christians in all walks of life, including the military:
You’re free to stay put.
In becoming a Christian, we don’t need to retreat from the vocational calling we already have-nor do we need to justify that calling, whatever it is, in terms of its “spiritual” value or evangelistic Read more
US Navy Chaplain (CAPT) Jon Cutler is the director of Religious Affairs for CJTF – Horn of Africa. In late July, he met with religious leaders in Tanzania to communicate the US military’s religious freedom and coordinate for future cooperation.
Cutler highlighted the US military’s religious plurality and freedom to his hosts in East Africa:
“My close friend and Muslim Imam, Shakur Ali, Africa command chaplain [U.S. Air Force Colonel] Jerry Lewis, and I are visiting Dar es Salaam from August 10 to 15 [during Ramadan],” Cutler told the religious leaders. “It’s unheard of for a Jew, Christian and Muslim to be friends Read more
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 coincident timing of the recent US Air Force ICBM training “scandal” with the upcoming anniversaries of the nuclear bombing of Japan has lent additional wind to the sails of this manufactured controversy.
Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, writing at the Washington Post column “On Faith,” demonstrates how the “Air Force nuclear training” addressed over the past week has been woefully (or willfully) misconstrued.
Wigg-Stevenson says Read more
In what may be one of the more unbiased presentations of the “media controversy” thus far, the Christian Post presents a somewhat fuller picture of the nuclear missile officer course that floated to the surface a few days ago. They are the first large media organization to highlight the fact the brief wasn’t exclusively Christian:
The section also cited biblical figures including Abraham, Samson and David as religious figures that fought wars in a righteous manner. Additionally, a picture of a menorah was featured on a slide highlighting the Maccabees’ revolt against their oppressors.
In fact, they are also the first to consciously highlight that the brief wasn’t even exclusively religious: Read more
A variety of news sources are now reporting the US Air Force ended a training class after an internet article belittled its religious content. Contrary to some assertions, this is actually not a big deal.
This much has been accurately reported: The Air Force training slides had Bible verses, and the course was led by a Chaplain. There was a public article. The Air Force pulled the course to “review it.”
Beyond that, much of the other reporting has been misrepresented or inaccurate.
The Washington Post said
The Air Force has suspended a training course for nuclear missile launch officers that used Bible passages and religious imagery to teach them about the ethics of war.
Unfortunately, that’s essentially a misrepresentation, likely because the conclusion was drawn solely from a copy of the slides used in the brief — sans notes or context. The course did not use Biblical citations to teach ethics. The ~40-slide PowerPoint presentation was an ethical discussion on the conduct of war, with emphasis on the application of nuclear weapons. (The title of the first seven slides is “Ethics;” the second section is “Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare.”)
The course’s focus was to address common Read more
“Rock Beyond Belief” — the self-described atheist counter-event to the Christian “Rock the Fort” — has announced that Fort Bragg has agreed to allow it to hold its festival next March on the Army post. While there is a bit of celebration on their part, its worth noting Fort Bragg also approved their request for last spring; RBB just decided to cancel itself at the time (and then allowed Michael Weinstein to equate the Army with racists over the incident).
The statement makes no reference to what changed, other than Read more