Go West, Young Man!

In a little more than a week 4000 of us will board planes and head West for a month of real life training in the field. This includes vehicles and equipment. The preparation has been more frantic, yet somehow organized with each day that passes. I am getting excited and a bit nervous, too. It will be our UMT’s first big excursion.

If I’m excited and nervous, multiply that by 400 Soldiers. That’s what the Chaplain and Command and Staff deals with as the days leading to NTC get shorter. Mixed emotions can sometimes cause Soldiers or Spouses to act in ways that they think are easing stress, but it’s adding more stress to themselves and others. Especially when they make a poor choice.

The work is tough, but its the most challenging job I’ve ever loved. The counseling load is huge. CH-BOLC didn’t fully prepare me for all the issues that arose. For instance, I’ve been requested to pray over a Family and a house they feel might have “spirits” in it. (Until I discovered the nature of movies they watch!) Meeting with Soldiers in the hospital, at their homes, and on the sidewalk.

Yesterday I noticed how dirty the headquarters floor had gotten. Then last night as I left work I saw two Soldiers on their hands and knees with small scrapers, removing the old wax. I felt bad that they were having to clean the large floor that way. They were being disciplined for violating some rules. So I chatted with them and grabbed a scraper for my turn. This morning with my Assistant we provided religious support for two troops of Soldiers taking their PT tests. Prayed with them, and ran with those in the rear struggling. Two Soldiers asked for “a special prayer.” I could see the anxiety on their faces and their breathing and body language. When your job depends on a certain level of fitness, and you know you struggle, yet have mouths to feed, it can be quite a stressor.

I anticipate the flurry of counseling appointments to increase just prior to next weekend’s trip out West. But until then, the UMT mission continues.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jodie Rhymer on 23 February 12 at 11:55

    Your writings are so inspiring! I wish I was more like you! Can we still send you mail when you go out west? If so, what is the new adress where you can receive it. You are always in my thoughts and prayers, big brother! I love you!


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