Fellowship with families of 'Fallen Warriors'
March 25, 2014
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (March 25, 2014) -- Combat is more than a soldier's story, it's a story of how families of "fallen warriors" adjust to life after they've lost a loved one.
U.S. Army Central's Chaplains reached out to families of fallen warriors and invited them to attend the Soldier Family Ministry Forum held at Patton Hall, March 19.
The forum focused on Gold Star families, people who have lost a loved one in combat, and provided them an opportunity to learn of the resources and Army programs that are available and to come together for support and healing. The Gold Star Mothers, started in 1929, and the Gold Star Wives, formed in 1945, are both chartered by Congress.
"We hope to make families feel that they are not left out. Their feelings and experience to have lost a husband, a wife, a parent, a son or daughter prompts our interest, as soldiers, to understand what they need and what we can do to help," said Staff Sgt. Lakeithia M. Thomas, USARCENT chaplain operations non-commissioned officer.
Guest speaker, Brig. Gen. Rex Spitler, USARCENT chief of staff, provided welcoming remarks to the spouses and families. Spitler emphasized the courage that the "fallen but never forgotten" soldiers had shown as they were serving as defenders of the nation.
Mrs. Alicia Buehring, a Charleston resident and wife to the late Lt. Col. Charles Buehring, who was killed in combat Oct. 26, 2003, and for which Camp Buehring in Kuwait is named, spoke out about her experience and the tragic moment that changed her family's life forever.
"It is critical to have the support of the military because our identities are tied to our husbands, on Oct. 26, a few days later I buried my heart and my soul ... my future into that box," said Buehring. "I had to redefine who I was and it is an ongoing process."
Buehring was joined by other spouses and family members who have also lost a loved one in combat during the ministry forum.
"Being here in a military setting and sharing our son's story is therapeutic for us. We would hope to see these programs reach out even more to the parents to have more support for them as well," said Sandra Jones, a Hartsville resident and mother to a fallen warrior.
Though these families have experienced to what some may describe as the unimaginable, these families stand as living legacies to warriors never forgotten and they have taken the opportunity to bond with one another and share their pain to draw strength from their loss.
U.S. Army Central has been resident in Central Asia and the Middle East for more than 20 years. With forward headquarters in Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan, our presence preserves regional stability and prosperity. U.S. Army Central provides the strategic land power that prevents conflict, shapes the environment and, when necessary, wins the Nation's wars