Sherrey and the kids dropped me off at the airport for my flight to Alaska on Monday morning. When she returned home she found that the internet connection was no longer functioning and by the time I landed in Dallas the air conditioner was pumping hot air while the temperatures outside were soaring to record highs…and so it goes for so many army strong spouses during any deployment. Love ya, babe.
Just a few days left at home before heading to Alaska. There are so many different areas to focus and prepare when you are being deployed. Pack my gear and necessities, get all paperwork ready for transition to Alaska, make sure family has all important info (where to get the cars worked on, who to call when something breaks at home, powers of attorney for everything you can imagine), spend quality time with each family member (have a date with M tonight), get all of my honey-do items knocked out, etc.
Timing for when the family moves to Alaska is going to be difficult. This is an important point of prayer for us. We approach God with the confidence of knowing he hears us and already has planned how he will supply our needs. It will be exciting to experience Alaska and we look forward to being there together.
I’m off to work on some more packing. 2 duffels packed and more to go.
It is time to begin again with my blog. I have recently been encouraged to do a better job of keeping in touch with those who like to know what is going on in life through this blog.
I found out this week that I am being sent to a new unit in Alaska which is already downrange and I will quickly follow. Alaska has been one of our choices for a duty location and we are excited about the adventure that awaits us there; however, it will not be until the end of this deployment that my family gets to actually move. They will remain in Oklahoma for now.
Pray for us as we make this quick transition and for my new unit which currently has no chaplain.
I have completed my 2 duty chaplain rotations at BAMC for this course. One was a 14 hour shift and the other 6 hours. There were 6 trauma patients that came in during my 14 hour shift and it was amazing to be a part of that ministry. I did fairly well with the gruesome factor (I was nervous about seeing what you might see in a trauma room). As expected, some people were religious and others not but everyone is someone who needs ministry during that time. I will not publish details of the traumas here so if you are wondering what kind of trauma I dealt with you will have to ask personally. I have to also be very careful not to violate any HIPPA statutes that pertain to patient privacy. Let me just say here…love your family today.
I am looking forward to going home soon and seeing my family. Soon we will begin school and head into the fall season with all of the sports/music/school/work/church issues that brings with it.
Wow! It has been a minute since my last post. I am in San Antonio attending a Combat Medical Ministry training for Army Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants. We train on crisis ministry and combine the training with real world practicum through on-call rotations at Brooke Army Medical Center. BAMC is a level 1 trauma center and receives many people through their trauma room. In addition to ministry in that setting we will be on call for any religious support need in the hospital. Patient visits, death or impending death, etc. It is a great training event and I thoroughly enjoying it.
This also gives me the opportunity to see some old friends who live in town as well as the chance to attend the last church where I served on staff prior to becoming an Army Chaplain (in Austin).
I’ll try to get some pics of training to post soon.
As many of you are aware, it is hard for me to find time and motivation to update the blog very often. Here is a little bit of what has been going on lately.
Alot of this has been going on…orange days. This is a view from inside one of our buildings. I took this photo about noon so it should show full, bright sunlight. The dust storms that we have had are not the kind that you think of like a wall of dust blowing through. Usually the dust builds gradually on a windy day until it look like this. Many times it will settle overnight and then start again the next morning. Side note…lungs do not perform as well when coated with dirt.
My friend (and roommate), CPT Andrew Sanders took command of the Echo 3-7 INF Engineer Company. It was a day that he had long waited for. This picture shows (from left to right) the outgoing company commander, CPT Neels, the 3-7 INF Battalion Commander, LTC Newsome, and CPT Sanders.
I’m sure that the chopper pilots certainly feel exactly like this from time to time. They do such an important job of moving people and things around the battle space. I appreciate them so much…expecially when they practice their tactical flying skills when I am a passenger.
I was recently able to travel to some new areas to provide religious support while other chaplains were on leave. One site I went to has a really nice building that serves as their chapel on one side and a coffee shop/video game/movie hangout on the other. It was good to spend some time with those guys. We had 2 chapel services while I was there.
This is a view of the Euphrates river as it passes by a small inlet at the FOB I was visiting. Not much to look at from this angle but I was glad to have a view of such an historical landmark.
I am very much looking forward to taking leave soon. I am ready to transition from the chaplain role to the husband and daddy role for a few days!
For Memorial Day this year we had a cumulative memorial ceremony for the fourteen soldiers in the 4th Brigade Combat Team who have given their lives during this deployment.
Lasting about half an hour, the memorial included prayer,
scripture reading, special music, and a message from our brigade commander, COL Thomas James. As each name was read soldiers from the corresponding battalion placed a flag at the picture and rendered a salute.
I was honored to give the closing benediction prayer for the event. The service was well done and brought honor to the memories of our soldiers as well as to 4BCT, 3ID. It was a somber reminder that what we do is both dangerous and important.