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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, November 03, 2006

Around Baghdad in a tank

This is me sitting in the tank as we are moving on a patrol.
In this picture, I am standing in front of the tank we took out on patrol: a M-1A Abrams.
This is a common billboard in Baghdad. Translated, it means "Terrorism has no religion." The red letters are the part that says "Terrorism." The pink store below it is a smoothie shop.
This is a large portrait; the center, large picture is Modtada al-Sadr's father, who was killed by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s. Sadr City- previously called Saddam City- is named after this man. To the upper right, is a picture of Moqtada al-Sadr. I don't know who is in the upper left.
Here is a small amusement park we passed on the road. I think it is a Disney affiliated park, and not Universal Studios, though I may be wrong.

It was fascinating driving around Baghdad today. As a chaplain, my reason for being out on a patrol on occasion is two fold: first, it is a ministry of presence, so to speak, to have the chaplain along for the ride. Second, it is a way of experiencing what my Soldiers are experiencing, and showing them that we are all in harm's way. Going out like this is not something I do on a regular basis, by any means, however, and my primary role is taking care of Soldiers on the base, at least in this current environment.

The bottom line is that chaplains go where their Soldiers go. In other wars, where there were fronts, the chaplain might be at the front, alongside the Soldiers, ready to pray, or administer last rites, etc. Here, in this environment, it is much more ambiguous. My best ministry will most likely be on the FOB (Forward Operating Base), but it's important to be out and about as well.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read something the other day that is very appropriate--especially since we are coming upon an election and Iraq has found itself as a main issue:

If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2,112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.

The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period.

That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington DC immediately!

PS

11:05 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Paul,

that is awesome!!!

Larry

3:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope at the very least, You got an opportunity to drive it. Rick J

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chris:

An early birthday greeting! It was a very special day 33 years ago when you were born. Unfortunately your mother did all the work and I was sleeping in the father's room. You have been a rare gift from God and we all appreciate you so much.

Love, Dad

3:03 AM  
Anonymous Lori Hasenwinkel said...

Your committment to the men and women of the US Military is without a word, IMPRESSIVE! My family prays for you and all service personnel daily. It is a shame that you are in such a beautiful land under such dire circumstances.
Know that you are missed at home!

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I appreciate your service. I have been so impressed with the military, that I am going into the seminary to become an Army chaplain. Thank you for being an example to me.

Jen

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Doris said...

Thank you for your dedication to God and our Country. You are obviously a very compassionate man of God. Your parents must be very, very proud of you. Our son is stationed in a very dangerous area of Baghdad and we miss him terribly but we are extremely proud of the man he's become and what he stands for - bravery and compassion for all God's people. God bless you for what you are doing and Merry Christmas. Doris Blatchford

6:18 PM  

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