Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Friday, July 23, 2004


It's taken me a little longer to get to posting something today.  I guess I had to process a little.  We had quite an emotional day.  We spent the morning learning about how to minister, or provide religious support during a MASCAL, which is a Mass Casualty situation.  A mass casualty situation is a situation where so many soldiers are injured that it is more than the system can handle.  The chancs of people in the class having to face this situation are pretty we're told.  We watched part of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" as an intro to the discussion.  That was the morning session.

In the afternoon we talked about Suicide, and Suicide prevention, as well as counseling soldiers contemplating suicide.  It was heavy.  Some students shared very personal stories.  CH (MAJ) Jones was our instructor for the day, and he did an excellent job.  (btw, CH means "chaplain" and the rank is in his case MAJ=Major)

What was emotional for me was thinking about the toll our nation's war on terror takes on soldiers.  The reality is that many soldiers face difficult and life threatening circumstances while deployed, but return home to sometimes even more harsh realities.  Many of them return home to find that their spouses have left them...that their companies didn't really save their jobs...that their kids don't recognize them anymore.  They do this so the nation can be free.  They give up so much, and, as a result, commanders place a high emphasis on suicide prevention.  Chaplains are the ones who are part of the front line defense against suicide.  But suicide still takes a great toll.

Maybe that's what I'm trying to remember tonight.  Right now, as I type, over 100,000 Americans are sitting in a desert, away from their families and support systems, isolated and lonely.  They are doing this so we can be free.  Free to forget about the to criticize the to question the motives of everything our government to compare our president to Hitler, simply because he hopes to bring this same freedom to a people who have been oppressed for so long.  Remember that freedom, and remember that thousands of soldiers are giving up so much so we over here can be free to forget about their work.  But let's not forget.


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