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! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Another good day

Well, we had another weigh-in this morning. Apparently I am both taller and heavier! That’s hard to believe, since my pants are fitting more loosely than last week, but it doesn’t really matter because I passed this weigh-in. It is our last weigh-in, and tomorrow is the final Arm Physical Fitness Test. For my age group, I have to do at least 39 push-ups, 45 sit-ups, and run 2 miles in less than 17 minutes. I am optimistic, but also know that nothing counts until you’ve actually done it!

Yesterday was a good day of instruction. Most of the day revolved around further preparing us to think critically about the ministry needs in a combat zone. For example, if I am with a unit that need to go recover a downed helicopter, the questions I have to ask will revolve around an examination of the ministry needs in that setting. So, I would be thinking about having to do a memorial ceremony. I would also need to be available to pray with injured or dying soldiers, and have a Catholic chaplain I could reach if a dying Catholic soldier needed last rites. I would also need to be prepared to conduct a defusing session, in which soldiers deal with the traumatic events they have just faced (such as wounded or dying soldiers, coming under attack, losing a friend, etc.).

It is interesting, but the more powerful aspect to it all is the possibility that it will be real for me. The chances of being mobilized are, of course, very, very high. That means that this instruction time is not just theory, but may be put into use in the next year or two. At that point, I guess the training is important, but even more important is the need to totally rely on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. I pray that I will be willing to listen and follow.


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