US military troops in Djibouti were recently able to revive a past practice of celebrating weekly Catholic mass with the local Catholic diocese, a tradition that had stopped following violent attacks in the area in 2014:
the Djiboutian-American partnership has proven too strong to be broken. Last month, Read more
US Army BGen Miguel Castellanos, the CJTF-HOA deputy commanding general, recently hosted an Islamic iftar to celebrate the breaking of the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event began with US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Abuhena Saifulislam leading some foreign troops in Islamic prayers. (Saifulislam had recently performed the same ritual for the State Department in Djibouti.)
BGen Castellanos made an interesting statement Read more
People tend to connect more through their faith than anything else.
– Chaplain Abuhena Saifulislam
US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Abuhena Saifulislam, stationed in Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as the USAFRICOM deputy command chaplain, recently spent a week in Djibouti
with members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Religious and Civil Affairs, they met with the deputy director of Islamic affairs for Djibouti, the Sultan of Tadjoura and representatives of the Red Crescent Society of Djibouti among others.
Besides meeting with local leaders, Saifulislam participated in religious Read more
US, French, and Djiboutian paratroopers recently celebrated St. Michel, the patron saint of paratroopers. The event was no small affair, beginning with a jump and ending with a Catholic Mass:
The airborne forces began the celebration with Read more
Jews in Green highlights the annual push by Kosher Troops to provide “High Holiday package shipments” to Jewish US military personnel around the world.
In the testimonials, there’s a telling thanks:
I want to let you know that your Passover packages arrived on the USS Gonzalez yesterday. None too soon! We had a challenging Passover, because many of our supplies did not arrive in time…Our Jewish Sailors…were facing the remaining Passover day without foods Kosher for Passover.
Then your packages arrived yesterday. What a blessing 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
Update: The military has said enemy action was not involved in the U-28 crash.
A U-28A — an AFSOC version of the Pilatus PC-12 — went down over the weekend during a mission from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (in the horn of Africa, for those unfamiliar). All four aircrew were killed. The least amount of deployments among the crew was 3 (in 5 years).
Of the three officers, one was from ROTC, one from OTS, and one was a 2009 USAFA graduate. That represents all 3 possible commissioning sources in the Air Force in one loss. While there are often good-natured rivalries among OTS, ROTC, and USAFA, risk and sacrifice know no bias.
Captain Ryan Hall…was a U-28A pilot on his seventh deployment. Read more
Anglican Chaplain (LtCol) Harry Ndirangu, Kenyan Ministry of State for Defense, was invited to preach to US forces at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as part of an ongoing chaplain interaction program.
Ndirangu visited for three weeks as part of a program that invites Kenyan chaplains to share best practices with the religious Read more