Chief of Chaplains Brings Encouragement and Support
January 8, 2007
SALERNO, Afghanistan, Dec. 19, 2006 - Army Maj. Gen. David H. Hicks, the Army chief of chaplains, visited Salerno Nov. 28, as part of a tour through Afghanistan and Iraq designed to bring support and encouragement to chaplains, chaplain's assistants and leaders at the battalion and brigade levels.
"My objective is to visit with and put my arms around -- I mean that figuratively -- as many soldiers, leaders and unit ministry team members as I can," said Hicks. "I want to bring encouragement. I want to find out how ministry is being conducted here on the ground.
"I want to see what the needs are and I want to be able to talk to commanders, but most of all I come over to really be with our soldiers; to be with our chaplains; to give them encouragement, which I see as a major part of my ministry."
Hicks uses a combination of love, faith and honesty to encourage soldiers.
"I tell the soldiers they have to be realistic and face the fact that this is a very difficult mission and it's going to require some time, commitment and sacrifice," Hicks said.
For deployed soldiers, life can seem like a blur of days, weeks and months with little to look forward to and a great deal of uncertainty, frustration and monotony, said Hicks.
"We tend to look at everything as if it's permanent, and this is all temporary," Hicks added. "As we move along our journey in life, there's going to be some difficult times, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. You may not see it at the moment, but there's always a reason for hope."
One way to combat negativity is to focus on the positive aspects of our individual circumstances. Hicks recommends reflecting on the reasons why we are here fighting the War on Terror.
"I think the most important message I try to give my chaplains and soldiers, especially during this time of year, is to recognize that we are providing for the freedoms of the people around the world, so folks back at home can enjoy Christmas and the New Year because soldiers make the sacrifice over here," Hicks said.
Hicks also reminds listeners of the big picture of the war and the impact it will have on history.
"People ask me, 'As a spiritual leader, as the chief of chaplains, what do I think about the war'' I am quick to respond very positively because I believe what we're doing is right," said Hicks. "Our soldiers on the battlefield understand the connection between what happened on 9/11 and what we're doing on the battlefield today. It's larger than just 9/11 and that's why I connect it to the battlefield, because we're fighting a global war on terrorism.
"I am convinced that we are winning this Global War on Terrorism and we are going to win it. History is going to be very kind to us because, I believe, we're going to have an impact on the future, and we are right now, because of what we're doing."
"I am trying to get around and visit as many folks as I possibly can," said Hicks. "We are doing everything we can to get out there and see as many people as possible."