Soldiers dedicate chapel at Afghanistan forward operating base
June 5, 2009
- 2-2 Inf. Soldiers experienced many hardships during the last year
- Chapel will be a place of emotional and spiritual refuge
- Chapel dedicated May 31 in special service
- Chapel will be a multi-purpose building
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - After almost a year in Afghanistan, the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Ramrod have experienced many hardships, including dozens of improvised explosive device strikes, a suicide bomber and the deaths of fellow Soldiers. The newly built FOB Ramrod chapel fills a spiritual and emotional need for Soldiers. In a special service, troops and civilians dedicated this new chapel May 31.
"Every time they leave here, they might hit [an IED] and not come back," said Maj. J. Cale Brown, the 2-2 Inf. executive officer. "[The chapel] is a critical asset for the mental and spiritual health of the Soldiers."
Command Sgt. Major Antoine B. Overstreet, 2-2 Inf. senior enlisted Soldier, said the 2-2 Inf. chaplain, Maj. Thomas G. Conner, talked to the commanders about the Soldiers' need for a place to worship. Until the chapel was built, the chaplain held services in a tent.
According to Conner, the chapel took six weeks to build. Although there were several volunteers who participated in the building, the majority of the work was completed by Staff Sgt. Travis Martin and Staff Sgt. "Bobby Jack" Crenshaw.
"Staff Sgt. Crenshaw wanted to build [a chapel] as soon as we got here," said Conner. "We tried to order a pre-built chapel kit, but couldn't get one, so we decided to go ahead and build our own."
Crenshaw, the 2-2 Inf. repairs and utilities noncommissioned officer, drew up the plans
on a basic computer program.
"I knew [the chapel] would be a hard structure that would stay here," said Crenshaw. "I also knew it would be the one building that would serve everyone."
Once the location had been determined and materials found, Crenshaw began work on the chapel and was joined by Martin.
Starting at 7:30 a.m., the two Soldiers worked until late afternoon or evening most days. They spent five days mixing cement by hand in a wheelbarrow, and the chapel woodwork alone took five weeks to complete.
"[The chapel] will benefit troops coming in who go to church," said Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Kohn, the 2-2 Inf. joint network supervisor who attended the dedication service. "It will give them a place to go. For those who don't go to church, it will give them a place of refuge."
During the ceremony, Chap. (Col.) Stanley E. Puckett, the command chaplain of Regional Command-South, delivered the dedication sermon and prayer, while Conner prayed the invocation and benediction. Brown presented the commander's remarks, while AnnaMaria Cardinalli, a senior social scientist for the Army program Human Terrain Team and a classically trained guitarist and singer, sang the national anthem and the hymn, "Amazing Grace."