Getting ready for Benning

As CH-BOLC continues, I am starting to get into a rhythm. Like everything else, the Army not only has its own culture but its own rhythm (driven by bugles and cadence!) The leaves are turning at Fort Jackson. My favorite time of the year. What a blessing to be entering the Army in the autumn.

We now wear “winter” PT uniforms, sooner than I thought we would. But cold wet grass on your bare head and hands is a wakeup in those pre-dawn hours. Still, I’d rather be doing PT now in my “basic” than during those hot and humid summer months. Ahhh, but Benning is coming.

We are learning alot about pluralism, Army regulations, and counseling and confidentiality techniques. We’re cranking out Army memorandums, forms, and doing briefings. Learning the amazing history of Army Chaplaincy. Learning so much more at an extremely rapid pace. At the end of each week my brain is saturated, and my body is toast. Saturdays are good days to reset and “check my calibration.” Sundays are a day for worship.

The most exciting thing that happened this week is that my Chaplain Assistant at Fort Benning emailed me. I will be working with him as part of a two-man UMT (Unit Ministry Team) to a group of 500 Soldiers, along with spouses and children. They are the 3-1 Cavalry, of the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry. The 3-1 Cav uses heavy equipment such as tanks, Humvees, and other mobile vehicles. The Chaplain Asst has done a great job at continuing the ministry even though the unit has been without regular Chaplain since Spring. The Squadron is divided into troops. We will be serving at Kelly Hill Chapel. Currently the unit is having a Single Soldier “Strong Bonds” retreat. In December a Married Soldiers “Strong Bonds” retreat is set for Panama City. I’m very grateful for the marriage retreats we participated in at Haddock. Once we get trained in Strong Bonds, we will have access to an amazing collection of marriage and singles and family retreat materials. The nice thing is that the Army foots the large part of the bill for soldiers who participate.

So yes, for the record, Chaplains are required to provide such “spiritual fitness” events such as retreats. The Family Ministry work I did at Haddock, and the mentorship of Ron McClung and other terrific laypersons at Haddock, really set me up for success. That is why I am getting excited about Benning. I am gaining confidence in my upcoming duties.

Until then, I will press on and get my work done to graduate. I must prepare for Mondays PT test. This time, I want to pass everything. I must.


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