Welcome to the ECA's
Military, Civil Air Patrol, Veterans Administration & Federal Prison Chaplain Members & Associates Page!
Chaplain Rick Blank article (continued)
Chaplain Blank as a young airman with the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Photo on left) Sp4c. Michael John Fitzmaurice on the occasion of his receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor (Photo on right)
On that day the claxon sounded and we scrambled to our F-4 Phantoms loaded with 20 MM high explosive rounds, napalm, and Mk 82 500-lb snake-eye retarded free fall bombs. On the ground near Khe Sanh the North Vietnamese infantry and Viet Cong sappers were trying to overrun an outpost of the 101st Airborne. Sp4c. Michael Fitzmaurice observed 3 explosive charges which had been thrown into the bunker by the enemy. Realizing the imminent danger to his comrades, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, he hurled 2 of the charges out of the bunker. He then threw his flak vest and himself over the remaining charge. By this courageous act he absorbed the blast and shielded his fellow-soldiers. Although suffering from serious multiple wounds and partial loss of sight, he charged out of the bunker, and engaged the enemy until his rifle was damaged by the blast of an enemy hand grenade. While in search of another weapon, Sp4c. Fitzmaurice encountered and overcame an enemy sapper in hand-to-hand combat. Having obtained another weapon, he returned to his original fighting position and inflicted additional casualties on the attacking enemy. Although seriously wounded, Sp4c. Fitzmaurice refused to be medically evacuated, preferring to remain at his post. Meanwhile, we were dropping our ordnance on the enemy. The assault was turned back and Sp4c Fitzmaurice received the Medal of Honor for his actions that day
Fast forward to January 18, 2017. As my wife and I were waiting for our connecting flight to Washington DC for the inauguration events as guests of CSMR CH Omarosa Manigault, who was selected as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, a man wearing a Medal of Honor (MOH) Society jacket sat down with his wife directly across from us. I greeted them and asked his connection to the MOH Society and he told me he was a MOH recipient and he gave me his MOH coin. I looked at the coin and was shocked to see the date: March 23, 1971. I remembered that March 1971 was the date that is on my second DFC citation that I received for an attack that we conducted under extremely adverse weather conditions and heavy Quad ZSU 23-4 and ZPU antiaircraft artillery fire. We were credited with saving that army unit. I thought that saving the outpost of the 17th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division on March 23 may have been that mission. I thought back to March 1971 and recalled being scrambled for a critical troops-in-contact situation. I recalled the heavy ground fire and how close the Forward Air Controller (FAC) asked us to place our ordnance. Despite the heavy fire we pressed in much lower than a normal bomb pass for more accuracy due to how close we were asked to place our bombs and napalm to the friendly position. We made four bomb passes, a napalm pass, and multiple 20mm strafing runs until we were out of ammunition. We returned to Da Nang and took off again as soon as ordnance was reloaded to return to the fight. When we checked back in with the FAC we were relieved to hear the ground attack had faltered and we were able to place our ordnance on the fleeing enemy forces to prevent them from being able to reassemble for another attack. What a blessing it was after almost 46 years to meet a soldier whose life may have been saved by my focus on that mission and the skill of my aircraft commander and the equal skill and efforts of our wingman.
The adrenalin rush of combat flying was such a thrill that through my 366 Tactical Fighter Wing headquarters job in the flight scheduling shop I was able to load my squadron up with missions for the times that I was in crew rest and available to fly. Thus I got to fly 248 combat missions including those two on March 23, 1971.
I am forever grateful to a loving and gracious God that gave me the first desire of my heart to fly combat and also those ACs over my F-4 years that shared the joy of 35,800 pounds of thrust with me, their patience and their generosity. The same God led me to follow him in service, change my commission from regular to reserve so I could go to seminary, pastor a church, and then recalled me to active duty so I could do the two things I enjoy the most, flying the F-4 and sharing God’s amazing love for us. Now he lets me serve our soldiers and airmen, their families, and the families of former soldiers and airmen that have been called to heaven. Thank you CSMR. God is good!
Rev. George Pickard article (continued)
Welcome Home provides a specific and safe sanctuary for more than veterans with hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Veterans and first responders and their families, more and more are reaching out for help with their needs. Issues and symptoms surrounding PTSD are widely recognized as clinical sicknesses. This significant outreach, “Welcome Home” has established “A Safe Place” for our veterans. We of The Evangelical Church Alliance (ECA) have a long history of successfully providing ministerial guidance within our military components. Our country’s military members serve their active duty tours serving a higher power and purpose – their country. Yet when active duty periods are over, our veterans are often released back into society - with Veterans Administration assistance - without a higher purpose. CR seeks to come to grips with that transition with its Christian perspective and a Christ driven purpose.
Within CR there is no counseling. Those in need who have the courage to show up and express their hurts are provided a safe place to “open up” with vulnerability. In this aspect, CR is like the Alcoholics’ Anonymous (AA) program with its 12 Step process. As CR is specifically Christ Centered, counseling is done outside CR, often within CR’s host church community.
We also note that both ECA and CR have a well-established presence within various prison ministries. Many prison chaplains use CR as a program to help change lives.
Many of our ECA members have experienced the challenges of counseling – the harvest is plentiful but laborers are few. Let us all consider possible linkages between ECA and CR. For ECA ministers who wish to continue serving military families not specifically on active duty, their awareness of CR’s new (2016) initiative “Welcome Home,” may open another path of service to His Kingdom. There seem to be opportunities within both ECA and CR to enhance an awareness of their missions and outreach through cooperative relationships that build upon individual and combined strengths. Celebrate Recovery - www.celebraterecovery.com - has an extensive web-site addressing the above and applying “Life’s Healing Choices,” CR’s 12 Step Programs, and CR’s Eight Recovery Principles. There’s even a program for us, “CPR,” Celebrating Pastors in Recovery.
Questions for our readers.
- We would like to hear from you regarding any involvement and experience you have had with CR.
- Also as part of each of us girding the fullness of God’s armor, there may be other programs you have used in your ministries that you would like to share with us.
(This writer is an ECA member, a participant in the CR program, has served in both the hospital and prison ministry settings, and is a 27-year veteran with Agent Orange-related disabilities.)
U.S. Army's ECA Chaplain David M. Chapman promoted to rank of Major January 8, 2016
Major Chapman (r.) joined for the occasion by the ECA’s Chaplain Colonel Kenneth R. Sorenson
Congratulations Chaplain Chapman!
The State of New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Appoints the ECA’s Rev. Lester Shelley Pastor-Chaplain
Rev. Lester Shelley
Rev. Shelley, a decorated US Army Veteran and Associate Minister at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, will be installed September 25, 2016, 6PM, at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park. The facility provides care for 312 veterans and their spouses. May the Lord bless Pastor Shelly’s labor of love as he ministers to them there on location.
Dr. Krupnik Participates in Challenging Labor Day Weekend Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike
Group photos with Dr. Krupnik in foreground before(above) and after (below) the hike
Saturday, September 3, 2016, on location in Grand Canyon, Arizona, Dr. Krupnik, along with 19 other Arizona Army National Guard soldiers, set out to hike the 23.9 mile (plus two additional miles if electing to extend the effort to include Ribbon Falls) Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Experience. According to the National Park Service website, “For the hearty souls who are willing to work for it – less than one percent of the Grand Canyon’s five million annual visitors – the real magic lies below the rim. On this epic Grand Canyon hike, you’ll leave from the North Kaibab Trail on the North Rim, challenging your personal limits as you descend 14.3 miles and 6,000 feet to the bottom of the canyon before connecting with the Bright Angel Trail and climbing 4,500 feet and 9.6 miles back out again to the South Rim.” The good news is that all 20 of the group completed the hike.
The ECA's Isaiah A. Marshall Appointed 1st Lieutenant July 20, 2016 and Awaiting Orders for Assignment as Air Force IMA Reserve Chaplain at Little Rock Air Force Base Near Little Rock, Arkansas
Congratulations Chaplain Marshall!
CH(1LT) Marshall (right) taking the oath of office
ECA Chaplains Tasha James and Juan Reyes Recognized for June 3, 2016 Graduation from Air Force Chaplain Corps College Basic Chaplain Course, Fort Jackson, South Carolina
Chaplain (1LT) James joined for the occasion by ECA Military Chaplain Commission Member Chaplain (LTC) USA RET Gregory Estes
Chaplain (1LT) Reyes (center) at graduation ceremony
ECA’s Chaplain Captain Alfred Matthews, U.S. Army, Earns Doctor of Ministry Degree May 21, 2016, from Erskine Theology Seminary, Due West, South Carolina
CH (CPT) Matthews
The timely degree dissertation entitled “Efficacy of the Biblical Lament as a Mode of Expression for Moral Distress Among Chaplains”, is a labor love. May the Lord use it mightily to bless military chaplains and those in uniform they serve.
The ECA’s Chaplain Colonel Kenneth R. Sorenson Preaches April 17, 2016, at Historic Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama
(l. to r.) Dr. Turrill, Rev. Cromwell A. Handy-Pastor of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Chaplain (COL) Sorenson, Dr. Elmon Krupnik-ECA Military Chaplain Commission Chairman, and Dr. Rob Schenck-ECA Chairman of the Board standing in the sanctuary where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used to preach and minister to his parishioners
ECA U.S. Navy Chaplain Lieutenant La Toya Zavala
Conducts Resurrection Sunday Baptismal Service,
March 27, 2016, in Iwakuni, Japan
New ECA Members Pursuing Military Chaplaincy Received February 20 at the ECA’s 2016 Winter Gathering in Goodyear, Arizona
Joined by the ECA chaplains Captain Lauralee Ozello (1st row, far left), Captain Daniel Price (2nd row, far left), Military Chaplain Commissioner Dr. Elmon Krupnik (2nd row, far right), and Captain Tim Jacobs (3rd row, center)
ECA Celebrates April 8, 2016 Graduation of Three Members and One Chaplain Candidate From U.S. Army Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina
(l. to r.) Chaplain Candidate 1LT Kyle Aaron Peachey, CH (1LT) Harold Woody Morris, CH (1LT) Christopher David Smith, and CH (1LT) Paul Joseph Perreault
Chaplain (LTC) USA RET Gregory Estes, a member of the ECA’s Military Chaplain Commission and International Board of Directors, attended the ceremony.
The ECA's Tasha S. James Appointed 1st Lieutenant Chaplain with the U.S. Air Force Reserve January 15, 2016 at Joint Base Charleston, North Charleston, South Carolina
Congratulation Chaplain James!
CH(1LT) James taking the oath of office
U.S. Army's Chaplain Kenneth R. Sorenson Promoted to Rank of Colonel
COL Sorenson (r.) joined for the occasion by Dr. Elmon Krupnik, ECA Military Chaplain Commission Chairman
December 30, 2015 marked the date at Ft. Hood, Texas of the ceremony for the promotion of Chaplain Kenneth R. Sorenson to the rank of Colonel. He is now one of only 98 active-duty chaplain colonels serving in the US Army and the first active-duty chaplain endorsed by the Evangelical Church Alliance International to be promoted to this rank.
Congratulations Chaplain Sorenson!
The laying on of hands by his fellow chaplains (l. to r.), COL Schannep (RET), Dr. Krupnik, and BG Bailey (RET)
Chaplain (MAJ) Patrick L. Devine, Accessions Officer, U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Chaplains
Chaplain (MAJ) Devine
The impactful sketch below, entitled “Brothers in Arms”, captures the moment as Chaplain Devine pauses with a fellow chaplain before the memorial ceremony in May 2012 for two Paratroopers from the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Khost Province, Afghanistan. This moving work by Chaplain Devine’s son, Patrick, is of a photo taken by our fellow ECA member’s Chaplain Assistant.
Chaplain Devine (r.) with fellow chaplain at memorial ceremony
Dr. Krupnik Instructs Marine Corps Officers in Seminar Class
Dr. Krupnik (4th from left)
Captain Oleksandr Ishchuk Sworn in November 9, 2015 as ECA Active Duty U.S. Army Chaplain
CH (CPT) Oleksandr Ishcuk (right)
The ECA’s LT Gale B. White, Command Chaplain of the USS Fort McHenry (LSD43), Navy & Marine Association Leadership Award Recipient
Congratulations Chaplain White!
CH(LT) White holding award reading as follows:
ECA's Chaplain Alan Cameron promoted September 1, 2015 at Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville Florida to the rank of Commander, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy
CDR Cameron (right) joined for the occasion by Dr. Elmon Krupnik, ECA Military Chaplain Commission Chairman
U.S. Army Chaplain Sun Do Kim "on the job"
U.S. Army Chaplain 1st Lt. Sun Do Kim
U.S. Army Soldiers attend a sermon given by U.S. Army Chaplain 1st Lt. Sun Do Kim, from the 419th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, at Fort McCoy, Wis., Aug. 16, 2015. The 84th Training Command’s third and final Combat Support Training Exercise of the year hosted by the 86th Training Division at Fort McCoy, Wis., is a multi-component and joint endeavor aligned with other reserve component exercises including Diamond Saber, Red Dragon, Trans Warrior, and Exportable Combat Training Capability. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cody Hein/Released)
Dr. Turrill with other Federal Prison Chaplain Endorsers from across the U.S. for August 13, 2015 Ecclesiastical Endorsers and Chaplains Meeting in Denver, Colorado
Federal Bureau of Prisons Chief Chaplain Rev. Dr. Michael R. Smith, Sr. (foreground) and Dr. Turrill (1st row, 4th from left)
August 13, 2015 Graduation of Chaplains Onuoha, Yang and Kim from Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina
CH (1LT) John Onuoha, Army National Guard, with wife and son
CH (1LT) Steve Yang, Active Duty Army
CH (CPT) Cheon-Chong Kim, Active Duty Army
U.S. Navy July 31, 2015 Commissioning Ceremony for the ECA's Chaplain (CPT) Gary Lewis at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
CH (MAJ) Matt Atkins administers
the Oath of Office to Chaplain (CPT) Lewis (right)
Elder Dyson (of the JBER Gospel Service) exhorts the Lewis family to fulfill the Great Commission and then leads the audience in a prayer for their Navy ministry.
ECA recognizes the July 9, 2015 graduation of Azariah Terrell from the U. S. Air Force Chaplain Candidate Course at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina
Azariah Terrell (center)
Azariah with Chaplain (LTC) USA RET Gregory Estes, member of the ECA's Military Chaplain Commission and International Board of Directors
ECA U.S. Air Force Chaplain
Chaplain (CPT) Aleck A. Brown
On June 13, 2015, ECA author and Chaplain (CPT) Aleck A. Brown received a Ph. D. in Biblical Preaching from Newburgh Theological Seminary. Dr. Brown’s dissertation topic, “The Personhood of the Holy Spirit”, should be of interest to all seeking truth regarding the Third Person of the Godhead. The ECA joins this brother in Christ in celebrating his accomplishment and praising the Lord for it! The publication of the dissertation, as well as the republication of the his first book, New Testament Handbook, are forthcoming.
ECA Chaplain (CPT) Timothy Jacobs on the occasion of his May 22, 2015 graduation from U.S. Air Force Chaplain School at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina
Congratulations Dr. Jacobs!
Chaplain (CPT) Jacobs (center)
ECA celebrates May 20, 2015 graduation of three members from U.S. Navy Chaplain School at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina
Chaplain (LT) Jason Dillon
(second from left)
Chaplain (LT) Juan Adriatico
Chaplain (LTJG) Solomon Han (right) with Chaplain (LTC) USA RET Gregory Estes, member of the ECA’s Military Chaplain Commission and International Board of Directors
ECA Board Chairman Dr. Rob Schenck presents his ministry's Faith and Action "Ten Commandments Leadership Award" to Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon
(l to r.) Chaplain Melvin, Chaplain Friedley, ECA Board Chairman Dr. Rob Schenck, ECA Military Chaplain Commission Chairman Dr. Elmon Krupnik, Congressman Salmon, Rev. Moeser, Chaplain Walgren.
Submitted 27APR15 by CH (MAJ) Brad Walgren Arizona Army National Guard
Rev. Schenck teaching the lesson on developing the "third dimension" and increasing spiritual resilience to the Soldiers.
The Arizona Army National Guard (AZARNG ) and the 98th Aviation Troop Command (ATC ) received nutritional and spiritual nourishment Tuesday, 21 April, at the Silverbell Spiritual Resilience Luncheon. After enjoying fellowship and a delicious lunch, the Soldiers of the 98th ATC were treated to a special guest speaker, Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck. Dr. Schenck is a leading American Evangelical minister to elected and appointed officials in Washington, D.C., serves as Chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance International and is a Senior Fellow, Oxford Centre for the Study of Law and Public Policy at Oxford University, in the field of religious freedom for minority faiths.
Rev. Schenck eyes the target on the gunner simulator at the Silverbell Army Heliport, Marana, Arizona. Home of the 98th Aviation Troop Command.
The Soldiers were challenged to develop, what Rev. Schenck referred to as their “third dimension.” The body and mind make up the first two dimensions, but the third dimension, or the “ spiritual dimension ” is what completes us and gives us access “ to an unlimited capacity for resilience, to rebound and bounce back from setbacks and adversity. ” He went on to teach, “ The spiritual dimension gives us super– and supranatural tools to get back on course in life and beyond life… we need to pursue, cultivate and acquire this third dimension. ”
Rev. Schenck along with Jon McHatton in an Apache. Mr. McHatton serves on the staff of Congressman Matt Salmon.
How do we develop our spiritual capacities? Rev. Schenck encouraged a three-prong approach. First, prayer and meditation. Second, study and seek spiritual counsel. Finally, talk to your chaplain, visit your chapel regularly and attend prayer gatherings and worship in your faith tradition. “ These are the best I can give you, ” he said, “ they are the tested and true practices that have been proved throughout the ages. ”
The lesson from this scholar was received with gratitude and will serve the Soldiers well, as many of them prepare for another deployment overseas. “ May God Bless us all”.
ECA represented at the Armed Forces Chaplains Board Annual Ecclesiastical Endorsers Conference held 01/15/15 in Washington, D.C.
(l. to r) Dr. Rob Schenck-ECA Chairman of the Board, Dr. Elmon Krupnik-ECA Military Chaplain Commission Chairman, Chaplain Major General Donald L. Rutherford -Chief of Chaplains-United States Army, Dr. Robert H. Turrill-ECA President & CEO
1st Lieutenant Anthony Amos accessioned to become a chaplain in the Georgia Army National Guard 221st Military Intelligence Battalion
Chaplain Amos at December 7, 2014 Pinning Ceremony
ECA U.S. Military Chaplain Wins Birrer-Brooks Award
“Chaplain Major Valeria Van Dress holding MMAS diploma”
The ECA is honored to recognize U.S. Army Chaplain Major Valeria Van Dress as the recent recipient of the distinguished Birrer-Brooks Award for her thesis, a monumental work evaluating the legitimacy of atheist chaplains in the military. Possessing a D. Min. from Erskine Theological Seminary, Chaplain Van Dress’s extensive experience includes, among many posts, deployment to Afghanistan, ministering at the Burn Center at Brook Army Medical Center in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas and serving as an instructor and writer for the Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course of the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School. The following is a statement from Brigadier General Christopher P. Hughes, Deputy Commanding General, Combined Arms Center Leader Development & Education Deputy Commandant, Command and General Staff School, acknowledging her accomplishment:
Subject: The Birrer-Brooks Award for Outstanding MMAS Thesis Winner for CGSOC Class 14-01 (UNCLASSIFIED)
Ladies & Gentlemen,
***Sent on behalf of BG Hughes***
The Birrer-Brookes Award recognizes the author of the "most outstanding thesis" from each graduating Master of Military Art and Science degree cohort of the Command and General Staff School. The name of the award honors the contributions to CGSC of Dr. Ivan Birrer and Dr. Phillip Brookes. Dr. Birrer nurtured the concept of a Master of Military Art and Science degree for CGSC from its initial proposal in the early 1960s through its formal authorization in public law in 1974. The Faculty thesis committee chairpersons submit nominations for the award to the CGSC Graduate Faculty Council, which in turn forms a panel of scholars to review and rank the nominated theses.
From 20 very commendable theses nominated this year, the CGSOC Class 14-01 winner of best thesis is, "For Man and Country: Atheist Chaplains in the U.S. Army," by CH (MAJ) Valeria Van Dress.
Congratulations on a job well done!
…and the ECA congratulates her too! To view this impressive thesis, click here.
In praise to God,
Dr. Elmon Krupnik speaks with Doug Carver about ECA chaplains at the Chaplain Alliance for Relgious Liberty meeting 09/29/2014 in Washington, D.C.
Captain Lance Sellon's swearing in as one of ECA's newly accessioned chaplains in the Florida National Guard on 08/22/2014.
2014 ECA International Conference Military Chaplains' Lunch
ECA Chaplain Baek Leads Prayer at US Capitol Event
ECA Chaplain Captain Peter E. Baek leads in prayer at the "Washington: Man of Prayer" Commemorative Service, held at the US Capitol on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014.
(CH Baek, son Zach (L) and ECA CH Lt. Col. Colin F. Smith (R))
"It was an exciting yet humbling experience to be part of such an historical event. To pray for our nation with our elected officials and religious leaders is an event that my son and I will never forget. I was grateful for the invitation to pray especially for the members of our military and be joined by my son was the highlight for us. As an active duty Army Chaplain praying for the service members and Families is something that I always do and consider a privilege, but to pray in that environment made it even more special." ~ Chaplain Baek
Good Friday Walk/Run
Members of the Arizona National Guard participated in the annual Good Friday Walk/Run in Phoenix, Arizona. Special participants were Brigadier General John Burk (to the left of the cross) and World War II veteran Mr. Boone (in wheelchair). Mr. Boone was with one of the first experimental parachute units (before the Band of Brothers units) and had several combat jumps in Europe during World War II. A man of faith, reading his Bible and Daily Bread every day, he also has his personal supply of ketchup with him at every meal “just in case.” Brother Boone is truly an outstanding example of someone who has run the race and finished the course. Remarks this faithful servant of the Lord, “It was through faith that God has sustained me in peace and war.”
ECA Chaplains Serve in Aftermath of Ft. Hood Tragedy
(Chaplain Joel Montes, Retired)
Chaplain (Captain) Joel Montes served as a chaplain in the US Army from 2008-2014. His service began at Fort Rucker, AL, deploying to Kuwait and Iraq with 1-58th Aviation Battalion in 2008. His second assignment was to Fort Hood, TX, with deployment to Iraq with the 62nd Signal Battalion in 2011.
Among his various venues of his ministry, Chaplain Montes enjoyed leading retreats for soldiers and their families. Some highlights over the years included procuring funding at Fort Rucker for his men's ministry group there to attend the Grid Iron Men's Conference in 2010. Another highlight involved the Rough Cut Men's Conference, which he co-hosted in 2013 with the Officers’ Christian Fellowship at Ft. Hood. While at Ft. Hood, he also led a Spanish Bible study. He loved pastoral counseling and building mentoring relationships with soldiers seeking to draw closer to God. Joel thought it an honor to hold examination boards on behalf of the ECA, participating in the blessing of several men entering the chaplaincy.
He is now pursuing a ministry for combat veterans and plans to study counseling or social work in order to provide care for soldiers suffering from mental health issues and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Chaplain Montes has an MA in Biblical/Theological Studies from Talbot School of Theology. Joel and his wife, Claudia, live in Huntington Beach, CA.(Joel with the commander of 1-58th Aviation Battalion)
Tyrone Luines swearing in as one of ECA's newest military chaplains on 09/24/2013
CH (CPT) Chuck Lowman
1/11ACR Squadron Chaplain
Fort Irwin, CA
(CH (CPT) Chuck Lowman foreground)
For anyone that’s been on a rotation through the National Training Center (NTC), a world of extremes would be an appropriate description. From freezing temperatures in the winter, to extreme heat in the summer, and a very challenging OPTEMPO, the NTC pushes those extremes to the limit. One of unspoken goals of the NTC is to stress and break the systems of the Rotational Training Unit (RTU – the unit coming to the NTC to be trained), to see how those systems hold up under pressure. This stress is purposeful, to make the teams learn from their mistakes, to make their systems better, and in the words of my Squadron Commander, “To make their worst day be here at the National Training Center, so that they will be prepared when they face real bullets downrange!”
For me, I can see many similarities in the Spiritual struggle. Paul encourages us in Romans 5:3-5, “we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” In this chain of character development – from out trials being met with perseverance, e.g. sticking it out when times get tough, to the enduring hope we have as believers because of the love we experience from God through his Holy Spirit – we cannot experience the love of God without first experiencing the trials. We will not know His faithfulness unless His faithfulness falls into question.
But the good thing about our trials is this – the trials God sends our way are not intended to destroy us. They may break us, but they will not destroy us. It is the enemy’s desire to destroy us (John 10:10; I Pet 5:8). Just like we here at the NTC work to break and stress the systems and tactics of the RTU, God’s desire is to stress and break us to make us more like himself.
If you’re anything like me, you’re like, “Okay… I’m broken and feel destroyed… what now?” If there is anything I can encourage you, is that we must make sure to go back to our Savior, and seek his rest. I’ve been serving in operational units for six years now. There are many times that I’ve found myself burning both ends of the candle, wondering where my relief will come from. Even here at the NTC, life as an OPFOR Chaplain is nonstop. But the promises I must rest in are these – Mt. 11:28, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”; Ps. 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
All too often, we don’t take the time to rest spiritually. I recently took some leave, and took my wife, kiddos, dog, and camp trailer to the eastern Sierras for some camping and fly-fishing. Just that time away, wading in the river with fly-rod in hand, praying and enjoying God’s creation, helped me to rejuvenate. In working with my chain of command, especially in pastoring a chapel service and ministering to a unit of 800+ infantrymen, tankers, and artillerymen in a CAV squadron, I need to make sure I get time for myself and my family. Getting out of work on Friday after PT is a solution. I need to paint that picture to my Boss, why it’s necessary for me and my ministry to his soldiers. Otherwise, I become burned out and ineffective. But in that time, I must be devoted to the spiritual disciplines that help me connect with my savior. Disciplines such as prayer, fasting, scripture memory, meditation, seclusion, acts of service, add your own, are crucial in staying connected with the Savior. When you do get the time to rest, make sure to rest. It is too easy to get wrapped up in everything else, and miss out on what is really important – your relationship with the Savior.
If you look at the picture attached, you’ll see the snow-cone ministry I’ve taken up with my soldiers in the 1st Squadron, 11th ACR. This day was a particularly hot and sweltery day – humid and no breeze whatsoever with temperatures pushing 110 degrees – the image came to mind of the rich man, separated from God for all of eternity – and begging for a drop of water from Lazarus’ finger. If I cannot stay fresh and rejuvenated for my soldiers, eternity is at stake. Make sure to take the time you need to connect with Jesus Christ.
Chaplain (MAJ) Jeffrey L. Brooks
Congratulations and happy retirement on 22 years of service to God and Country!
Combat Boots and Prayer
Story by Sgt. Lauren Twigg
(Chaplains from the Arizona Army National Guard conducted a recent spiritual exercise held at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The soldiers file into the room and take seats behind large hand drums placed by each chair, which have been situated into a circle. The instructor advises them to take up the drums and get ready to play. The soldiers sheepishly grab hold of the drums in front of them and begin following the instructor’s lead. A few minutes later, the sound of beating drums loudly bounce off the walls. Smiles and laughter, and at times, flailing of arms and dancing can be observed as the soldiers get more comfortable with what they are doing. This was just one part of the training chaplains and chaplain’s assistants from the Arizona Army National Guard recently received during a recent spiritual exercise held at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale. The first-ever training entitled, “A Time for Renewal, A Time for Growth, A Time to Connect,” was designed to help chaplains, candidates and chaplain’s assistants reconnect with the chaplain corps. “Any practice that broadens the corps’ understanding of spiritual disciplines strengthens us in our individual callings and binds us more readily together as a religious support team,” said Capt. Brad Walgren, a chaplain assigned to the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and the officer in charge of this event. “One of the greatest outcomes of the exercise was the Unit Ministry Teams now all know each other personally and have worshipped together as one.”
The training not only included learning about spiritual resiliency, but also included various prayerful techniques, which entailed activities such as lectio divina, centering prayer and the healing drum circle, provided by a range of community resources.
“The training here was designed to not only add new spiritual practices to our tool kits, but also broaden our community resources to provide for our soldiers who are of various backgrounds and faiths,” Walgren said. During the training, discussions and planning for better ways to maintain soldier readiness were held as well, which helped re-establish their soldier responsibilities.
“We want to escape from this stigma that the chaplain or his assistant are just the guys who stand on the sidelines waiting to provide spiritual help,” said Col. John Morris, staff chaplain from the National Guard Bureau. “We are soldiers, too, and our first duty as soldiers is to maintain our own readiness and uphold the Warrior Ethos.”
It’s become a growing trend that within the chaplain corps it is acceptable practice to not ensure we are mission-ready as well- and it’s typically because we are so busy helping others, Morris points out.
“Guard members are twice the soldier because they’ve got a home game and away game – every drill is crucial training, because they must be ready for local incidents, as well as global deployments,” Morris said. “The days of a sleepy Army Guard back when I joined in 1984 – those days are gone. Not being mission-ready will get someone hurt, or worse.”
Across the state, the chaplains and assistance rarely get to train together, as they are all individually-assigned to units, so this was a unique chance for them to work together on a common level of training.
“We don’t get an opportunity like this where we can all come together and train, so it’s helpful to get everyone from all across the state and motivate them to see that there is a chaplain corps, and can bring camaraderie and fellowship to the table,” said Col. Elmon Krupnik, the state chaplain for the Arizona Army National Guard.
According to Walgren, the chaplain corps provides and performs worship services, rites, sacraments, ordinances, pastoral and spiritual care and religious education to nurture the living, care for the dying, and honor the dead.
The event helped the spiritual leaders “re-energize,” as Krupnik put it, so they can re-engage with their duties as chaplains and chaplain’s assistants, and to get to know all the community resources Arizona has to offer to service members.
“My hope is that they take the information and training received today and apply it personally,” Krupnik said. “I believe that a lot of personal decisions we make tend to affect the professional ones we make, so really if we are making good personal decisions, then it will reflect professionally as well.”
Meet ECA Military Chaplain (CPT) Andrew Lee with the 158th Corps Support Battalion of the Arizona Army National Guard.
Chaplain Lee and his wife, Robin
Click on the following link to learn about Chaplain Lee's role in the military and law enforcement:
The Greatest Battlefield
CH (CPT) Nathan Whitham
100thBSB, 75th FIB
(Pictured below with his wife Becca)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24)
Notice he did not say take up my cross. There is not a one of us who is capable of dying for the sins of the world. Despite our profession, very few will be called upon to lay down their lives at all. No, the cross we bear is self-inflicted, and many are wounded in its wake. We are all selfish by nature. Modern psychology and pop-culture will tell us we need to “love ourselves”, “build our self-esteem”, and “look out for number one.” However, the more we pursue such an agenda, the more shallow and unfulfilled our lives become. It is one of life’s great paradoxes that the greatest self-fulfillment happens when the desires of self are set aside for the needs and desires of others. Therein lies the secret to all great endeavors and every meaningful relationship.
Imagine the impact of a wife who shows respect to her husband regardless of him earning or deserving it. She does not nag or remind him of every flaw or mistake he’s made since the dawn of time. She devotes herself to encouraging him and makes their home a place of safety and desire. It will not be long before such a husband begins to move mountains for her. By investing herself in him, she will unlock the passion and intimacy she has so long craved.
Picture a husband who loves his wife unconditionally. He puts her needs and desires ahead of his own. He is her servant. He turns off the X-box and the TV to pursue her heart. After she gets over the initial suspicion and shock, he will find he has unleashed the most powerful force in the universe apart from God himself. Nothing and no one can stand in the way of a man who has the admiration and love of a wife behind him.
We cannot… I repeat… We cannot change our spouse. We can only change ourselves. We are responsible for our own actions and attitudes. Expecting our spouse to make us happy is both wildly unrealistic and unfair. Only in setting aside our own selfish desires will we find peace and harmony. Begin to do this and your marriage will survive any challenges life my throw your way. Conquer self, conquer all!
Dr. Elmon Krupnik participates in Good Friday morning Walk/Run of the Stations of the Cross with veterans & active duty members of the National Guard
ECA Chaplain Commission Chairman meets with Kazakhstan VIPs
“In our country we have the Russian Orthodox Church and many sects of Islam,” the interpreter relays for Bishop Novgorod,“and now we have many new denominations vying for converts...how in your military and institutions have you kept diversity instead of one voice taking over?” This question and many like it were at the heart of the Interfaith Dialogue 12MAR13 in Scottsdale, AZ
Panel of Arizona chaplains and Kazakhstan religious leaders
The panel was put together by the Arizona Council for International Visitors (AZCIV). The program selects important up-and-coming persons from countries all across the globe and sponsors them on a visit to the U.S. Where the visitors have a chance to meet and exchange ideas with counterparts from their professional backgrounds. The Kazakhstan panel, consisting of an Imam, a Senior Pastor of a “New Life” Church, a Lutheran Bishop and the Director of the Religious Issues Information Center expressed a keen interest in meeting with military and institutional chaplains.
Dr. Elmon Krupnik and other Arizona chaplains fielded questions ranging from the roles of chaplains in hospitals and prisons, the history and need for chaplains, chaplain diversity, funding, effectiveness, training, and best practices.
“A year and a half ago a law was passed that separated all religious functions from the military,” said Ghassan Amankulov, Naib-Imam of the Central Mosque in Astana. “What you have here (in the U.S.) is very interesting to us.”
Once opposites in the Cold War, Dr. Elmon Krupnik (left) speaks with Bishop Yuriy Novgorodov of Kazakhstan’s Evangelic Lutheran Church concerning implementation of religious support to Kazakhstan’s military.
Without George Washington’s conviction that “chaplains of character and good conversation” were mandatory for “good order”in the armed forces, one could only wonder where we would be as a nation. These are the wrestlings of religious support in Kazakhstan as we speak. May the God of us all bless their way.
ECA Chaplain Joseph R. Mason
One of our Army Chaplains, Joseph R. Mason, member of the ECA and a native of Salem, Oregon, prays for the soldiers assigned to him prior to a current military operation in Afghanistan. Please remember to pray for our chaplains and the military members and families they serve.
Annual Chief of Chaplains Briefing
ECA Chaplain Commission attends annual Chief of Chaplains Briefing. Pictured: Dr. Elmon Krupnik, ECA Military Chaplain Commission Chairman, Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd, Chief of Navy Chaplains, Dr. Rob Schenck, ECA Chairman of the Board, Dr. George Miller, ECA Military Chaplain Commission Endorser.
ECA Military Chaplain Commission words of encouragement
To our Fellow Chaplains and ECA Members,
We often hear the phrase that the one constant in life is change. However, as followers and disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we have another more important constant, which is God’s love. Although we often cannot control the changes that take place in our lives, we can control our responses to those changes. Are we exhibiting God’s love through the changing circumstances in which we find ourselves?
As we are part of a changing environment, the Evangelical Church Alliance has done and is doing all it can to support our chaplains and ECA members in their ministries. We are involved where we can be, and continue to determine if additional policies need to be created to support and protect our chaplains and ECA members so that you can continue to perform and provide in your ministries according to your faith and conscience.
Throughout my military career, the following quote from G.K. Chesterton has often come to mind: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” We do not know what is going to be in front of us in the future, but we need always to be prepared for the unknown circumstances that happen in our ministries. We need to be able to minister as God has called each and every one of us in a very special and unique way to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In whatever situation you may be facing, and as we face the uncertainties of the future, the ECA leadership encourages you to continue the ministry to which you were called, keeping in mind, first and foremost, God’s love.