September 26, 2013
FORT STEWART, Ga. - As the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducts their eXportable Combat Training Capabilities rotation, the brigade's chaplains immerse themselves in the military decision making process to better serve their soldiers.
"We are teaching them about how to interject themselves in the MDMP," said Sgt. 1st Class Fred Cohen, a chaplain's assistant for First Army Division East. "This will enable them to better place themselves during missions, and better the services they can render to their soldiers."
Chaplain Harry Huley, First Army Division East, and chaplain David Burris, 48th IBCT, will review the material they cover in class over the next week.
"I have all the steps of the MDMP in little booklets if you want it," interjects Burris. "I want to make sure you are properly equipped to handle whatever comes up with your soldiers."
"Our chaplains, are not your typical chaplain," explains Capt. Abby Walker, 48th IBCT Headquarter and Headquarters Company commander. "They are always soldiers first and chaplains when you need them to be. Their unique ability to fit into an infantry brigade makes them a true asset. Their ability to adapt to the infantry lifestyle makes them more assessable to our soldiers, easier to talk to and easily trusted. When it comes to needing someone to talk to, these characteristics are essential for chaplains to possess."
The MDMP training and the placement of chaplains into the MDMP will be an important step in them becoming more aware of what is going on, on a larger scale. It will also allow them more time to plan where they need to position themselves to better serve our Guardsmen.
Burris, who deployed with the brigade in 2009-10, is getting ready to deploy again at the end of this year. His assistant, Staff Sgt. John Howard said he was happy to be deploying with such a dedicated boss.
"Wherever his soldiers are, that's where you are going to find him," explained Howard. "He wants to be wherever they need him, wherever he can better serve them. He is one of those guys, that just truly cares about his soldiers."
The brigade is currently completing one of the last phases in their predeployment training cycle. The training the soldiers are getting at Fort Stewart is some of the most pertinent, as they are training now for how they will conduct themselves in Afghanistan.
"I always want to ensure my chaplains are primed to take care of their soldiers," said Burris. "But especially now that we are getting ready to deploy again, it is ever more vital."