Tag Archives: Public Expression

A Chilling Call: Aircraft Down

The Supervisor of Flying, a pilot stationed in the control tower to oversee flight operations on the airfield, received a call from local emergency responders relaying reports of a loud boom and possible fireball.  A roll call of all airborne aircraft revealed one aircraft missing.  Officers around the base opened their Mishap Response Checklists.  An aircraft was down.

The controllers stopped all further launches and began the task of recovering other aircraft that were airborne; the assets of the base as well as the local community were now focused on the rescue and recovery of the downed aircraft and crew.  An air traffic controller guided an experienced pilot to the last known location of the aircraft, and the crash location was fixed.  Helicopters flown by local law enforcement and the US Marines were dispatched to the crash site.  Simultaneously, officers throughout the base began the procedures of securing all equipment associated with the flight–from the maintenance records of the aircraft to the pilot’s gradebook and records.  Ultimately, a commander would don his service dress uniform and request the accompaniment of a Chaplain.

Regrettably, the fighter pilot career field is a dangerous one.  In this case, Read more

Army Chaplain Changes Lives in Iraq

US Army Chaplain (Capt) Richard Hill is among a small group of Chaplains serving the needs of hundreds of troops at his base in Iraq.  The impact his service has had on the spiritual well-being of troops in Iraq has been visible:

“It has been very rewarding to see the lives of the military touched by God,” he says, especially since they are under no compulsion to attend church or avail themselves of the services of a chaplain…

“We even had some Marines join the choir just because they liked to sing. As a result, they gave their lives to Christ Read more

The Sacrifice of the Four Chaplains

The US Army Transport Dorchester was sunk 67 years ago on 3 February 1943.  It was one of three ships in a convoy taking American troops across the Atlantic, and would become famous not because it was targeted by German submarines, as many ships were; nor did it become famous for the loss of life, as other events eclipsed the dead and wounded.

The USAT Dorchester became famous for the Four Chaplains.

Four Army chaplains were on board, along with nearly 900 other men: Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister. They became beacons Read more

“Tebow Rule” Proposed by NCAA

Though he was not the only player to do so, former Florida Gator Tim Tebow made famous the practice of using his eyeblacks for communicating a message.  The NCAA football rules committee has now decided to ban the practice, leading some to dub it the “Tebow Rule.”

Under some interpretations, the practice of putting such text anywhere on the sports uniform was already prohibited, and the rules committee “clarified” that prohibition to include the players’ eyeblacks.

Army Initiates Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program

The US Army’s master resilience training school will open on Fort Jackson in April.

The school is part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, the Army’s latest attempt to train Soldiers not only for war, but also for life.  To that end, the CSF program describes “five dimensions of strength:”  Physical, Emotional, Social, Family, and Spiritual.

The Army apparently recognizes one of the most common displays of spiritual strength among its Soldiers: the poster for “spiritual strength” contains a photograph of uniformed and armed Army members praying in a circle.

US Army Graphic

US Army Graphic

Ironically, this public expression of spirituality is occasionally imperiled by critics who feel that the displays inappropriately connect the US military with religion (more specifically, Christianity).  For the time being, the military’s hypersensitivity to religious offense has not yet restricted public displays of Read more

Prayer, Government, and the US Military

The National Prayer Breakfast was already a controversial event this year, as at least one group had urged President Obama to skip the annual event attended by sitting Presidents for the past few decades.

He chose to attend, but he did not avoid controversy.  He addressed the concerns of those who did not want him to attend by specifically speaking against a law about homosexuals in Uganda.  The normally smooth orator also managed to mispronounce a military rank, calling a Navy medic a “corpse-man” rather than a “corpsman” (properly pronounced “core-man”) (not once, but three times), and he expressed the thought that non-theists Read more

USAFA Pagan Circle has Christian History

A blog by a USAFA cadet reaffirms prior comments that the new pagan circle at the US Air Force Academy is in an area frequented for other purposes, and even has a unique spiritual history.

The area is collectively referred to as the “LZ,” and the clearing has been used–for years–as a station on the hill for which to conduct “training” for fourth class cadets.  The author of Wonderings and Wanderings has a post on the 14th of January that says his squadron used the LZ for training–3 days before the “cross incident” occurred (which, incidentally, was also a long weekend).  At the time, no one knew Read more

Group Calls for Air Force Academy Congressional Investigation

A group recently called for Congress to “probe” the US Air Force Academy after allegations of religious “insensitivity”—but not likely the insensitivity of which most immediately think.  After years of criticism that USAFA has favored Christianity, and in the wake of news that a cross had been found at the newly created pagan circle at the Academy, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is calling for a probe to investigate “insensitivity to Christians” at the US Air Force Academy.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue decried the military’s characterization of the cross incident at the pagan circle–in which two railroad ties were picked up and laid against a rock–which Academy Superintendent LtGen Michael Gould seemed Read more

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