Worship service in the desert
February 16, 2011
FORT IRWIN, Calif. - Despite intense around-the-clock operations at the U.S. Army's National Training Center here, Soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division held their first worship service at Forward Operating Base Denver Feb. 13.
Earlier this month, the Soldiers left the sub-zero temperatures of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and traded them for the blistering temperatures of the Mojave Desert to complete a training rotation at the NTC.
After blessing the service, Chaplain (Maj.) Herb Franklin, of the 1-25th, began the service by reading from the book of Psalms.
With training underway, only a few Soldiers were able to attend the service.
The brigade's chaplain assistant, Staff Sgt. David Shaw, said success isn't about numbers, it's about making a place available for Soldiers to worship.
"It's very important that Soldiers are given the opportunity to hear the word of God," Shaw said.
The service provided many Soldiers with a chance to break away from the intense training and the daily grind Soldiers face at the NTC.
Although the different battalions are spread out over the Mojave desert, Shaw said, chaplains across the 1-25th have relayed back that every unit has a place to worship.
Capt. Angie Chipman, acting executive officer for the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, was one of the Soldiers who attended the service. "Some people may disagree but I think this is a great opportunity to be able to worship the Lord," she said.
Chipman said the service is an opportunity to reflect and "unplug" from the 24-hour training cycle.
Soldiers training here will continue to have the opportunity to worship, as the chapel will hold three services every Sunday until the 1-25th returns home to Fort Wainwright next month.
The NTC provides a realistic combat environment for Soldiers throughout the Army preparing for deployment. The 1-25th is preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan later this year.