Phase 2 ends; one more to go!

Hard to believe it but another Phase of Chaplain School has come and gone. First, it was CIMT. Lots of basic Army training there. Then came Phase 1 where we learned alot of Army Doctrine, being a staff officer, and advising the Commander. In Phase 2 we really honed in on things such as military funerals and ceremonies, counseling soldiers, suicide prevention, worship leadership in the Army context, and resilience training. Of course there is PT (physical training) nearly every day. We also have taken four trips as a class off post for additional training.

Every day is crammed full of training. Sometimes my head is swimming. I’m still getting used to the long, full days. Make no mistake, the Army knows how to squeeze every drop out of a day. But since I’ve been here I’ve gotten Army Strong. Tomorrow is our final PT test. In the rain or dry at 5:30am. I passed the last diagnostic one, and must pass this one. This one counts. This one goes on your record.

I have already been getting regular emails from my Brigade Chaplain at Ft. Benning. The excitement is building for me in that direction as my unit has been on my heart and in my prayers daily. Still, more homework to do here though. And next week Phase 3 begins. The homestretch! We actually go on a full four day trek to an on-post (but in the woods) FOB (forward operating base), where we put all we have learned together. There we will sleep in tents, and daily do what Chaplains would do in an actual deployment situation. This is good. Because sooner than later my unit, 3-1 Cav will be deployed. Not sure to where. Kuwait? Afghanistan? South Korea? Germany? No longer Iraq. Who knows? (Well, actually someone does – just not us yet). All I know is that I want to be prepared as I can be.

I am thankful as I look back on last year’s Thanksgiving. Dad and I ate at Cracker Barrel. His first big meal since bouncing back from major heart surgery. I am thankful that in two days I will eat a Thanksgiving meal again with him and my family. Yes, at Cracker Barrel. But also excited to be able to visit Haddock Baptist and Greenwood Baptist on Sunday morning. Very happy. Alot has happened in a year. And as the calendar year draws to a close, more changes will occur. Life is filled with changes. Can’t stop them. Can only embrace them. And thank God each step of the way. I am thankful for my loved ones. I am thankful for my friends, family and colleagues. I am thankful to be serving as a Chaplain in the United States Army. But most of all, I am thankful for a God who loves me and for Jesus who saved me. I am thankful for Amazing GRACE!


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