Army chaplain oversees services in Iraq
October 1, 2010
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - While Operation New Dawn marked the end of combat operations in Iraq, there are still deployed Soldiers that face the challenge of handling deployment stress.
Maj. Thomas Bruce, the brigade chaplain for the Enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, has the task of providing religious support to Soldiers on Camp Taji, Iraq.
Religious support falls under the "spiritual" pillar of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.
"Everyone needs to be spiritually fed," said Bruce. "People are so mission-focused. They are not taking the time to refresh themselves spiritually."
Services are conducted based on the type of denomination and styles of music. The Seven-Day Adventist service and Catholic mass are conducted based on religion, and four additional services are held based on style of music including full gospel, traditional, contemporary, and liturgical.
The religious services are open to everyone on the base. Soldiers, airmen, civilian contractors, and even the Ugandan security forces attend them.
Church is not the only service being offered on Camp Taji. Bruce and the chaplains under him are available for counseling at the Taji Warrior Resiliency Campus. The campus is a facility that focuses on improving a Soldier's overall well being. Bruce not only counsels Soldiers but also counsels Family members.
"Any Soldier who goes to a chaplain will receive care and compassion," said Bruce. "We will go out our way to help a Soldier."