The Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing in New Jersey recently published an article announcing it had commissioned 1Lt Anita Morris as its new chaplain. Interestingly, the relatively short piece on the new unit’s religious representative managed to say nothing about religion; in fact, discounting the word “chaplain,” the only word remotely related to the chaplain’s field was one occurrence of “spiritual.” Otherwise:
History was made [when] Morris became the first African-American female to serve as chaplain in the history of the 177th Fighter Wing.
“It was met with great humility and gratitude to know I am the first,” Morris said.
The article was happy to communicate Lt Morris’ race and gender, but Read more
Caleb Drown was a sergeant in the US Marine Corps when he deployed to Iraq in 2006, believing he could “save the world with an M-16.” Instead, the saw the needs of the people there.
He’s now traded his former military role for one at Samaritan’s Purse, which is providing humanitarian assistance along with other groups at near Mosul, Iraq.
Giving up his uniform, though, didn’t mean giving up his Read more
Military religious freedom in action (2003). Read more
Major Andrew Thornley spent four years as an Airman in the Security Forces — a beginning to a career in which he said he had difficulty finding a “spiritual mentor.” That challenge was something he would ultimately seek to help others overcome:
After completing his enlistment, Thornley began his theological studies, eventually becoming a pastor in the civilian world. After 10 years as a pastor, he began to feel that there might be more he could do with his newfound knowledge…
“I left the Air Force, but the Air Force never really left me,” Thornley said. “I’ve always had the blue blood running through my veins.”
Chaplain Thornley re-entered the Air Force in October 2001 and spent the next several years trying to help troops and their families cope with the hardships of war.
In 2003 he was featured on Good Morning America, where he Read more
Alan Clyne recently retired from the US Marine Corps after a long career. Clyne was in Iraq in 2005 when he was tasked with driving an armored bulldozer to clear a path for engaged fellow Marines:
It was there, at a tiny forward operating base called Camp Gannon in November 2005, that Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clyne and a fellow Marine, Master Sgt. Scott Witmer, hopped aboard an armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozer that neither man had been trained to operate and drove into a high-risk rescue mission in an active combat zone.
A tank accompanied them — from Read more
Though the month of June marks references to both Ramadan and PTSD awareness (among other things), from news coverage and official US military press releases, you’d think June in the US military was all about sex.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes June as PTSD awareness month, though as yet Congress has only recognized June 27th as PTSD awareness day. Thus, PTSD awareness month is not enshrined in law as, say, Religious Freedom Day is.
Notably, neither the current Congress nor any prior law recognizes any day or month as a celebration of “Gay Pride” — yet President Barack Obama issued a proclamation marking just such a recognition.
While he has annually issued praise for homosexuality in June, according to Read more
Bilal Abood was a translator for the US military in Iraq prior to 2009, when he left Iraq for the US and became an American citizen. He joined the US Army in 2010.
In 2014, the FBI determined he had made a statement of allegiance to al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. He recently pled guilty to lying to the FBI about that statement:
Bilal Abood…admitted he lied to the FBI about traveling to Syria and sending a tweet pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State…
The report seems to imply Read more
How many people thought after the US invaded Iraq in 2003 that we’d still be celebrating Easter in Baghdad in 2016?
In Iraq, chaplains and their support teams used air and ground support to provide Easter services for troops throughout the country, including the location formerly known as Fire Base Bell — the small outpost attacked a little more than a week prior.
The Easter sunrise service was just one of five religious services held at Union III and one of many services across the CJFLCC-OIR area of operations in celebration of the holiday.
A few official news sources have begun to document this year’s other celebrations of Easter by US military forces around the world.
Aboard the USS Nitze: Read more