903rd CCBn Soldier participates in Hajj on invitational orders
March 17, 2011
In a massive mix of cultural and religious gathering of people in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Maj. William Trimble stood tall with a sense of enlightenment.
Trimble, executive officer, 903rd Contingency Contracting Battalion, Kaiserslautern, Germany, is a practicing Muslim and represented the Department of Defense on invitational orders during Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The 903rd is a subordinate unit of the Expeditionary Contracting Command, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va.
The religious journey is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in a lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. The Hajj is a demonstration of submission to God.
Trimble has been in the Army for more than 21 years. While attending Islamic Services at the Ramstein (Germany) Air Base South Chapel, Trimble learned through the chaplain of a program that was selecting members of the military to represent the Department of Defense on an invitation from the Saudi Minister of Defense and Aviation to participate in Hajj.
Trimble put in a formal request and was selected for the Joint Hajj Training Mission. He was also named the officer in charge for the mission.
Trimble, along with four other military personnel, three from the Navy and one from the Air Force, prepared to make the trip in November.
"I established two objectives for the team. The first objective for the team was to complete our religious obligation to God by executing Hajj. Secondly, I wanted the team to engage as many people as possible while in Saudi Arabia in order to let Muslims know that representatives of the U.S. government were participating in Hajj and at the same time, be a positive reflection of America and Americans," said Trimble.
Trimble along with the other members of the Joint Hajj Team reported to Washington, D.C., for their initial briefing and later travelled to Mecca to complete the Hajj pilgrimage. During the process, Trimble received complete support from his command.
"Maj. Trimble's devotion to Islam is unquestioned and his performance exemplifies the kind of Soldier the Army needs," said Lt. Col. David Hosna, 903rd commander. "Allowing Maj. Trimble to attend the Hajj would prove invaluable in making him a more effective and competent leader for the 903rd and 409th Contracting Support Brigade."
Upon completion of the mission, Trimble returned home with a better understanding of the people of the Muslim faith.
"There were people from all over the world, and Islam is more diverse than most Americans can begin to fathom," said Trimble. "This was a mission of a lifetime and an unforgettable experience. I cannot thank my command enough for the support rendered and the opportunity to participate and lead this Joint DOD mission."