Army Chief of Chaplains visits Afghanistan
March 29, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan - Billed as his last trip to Afghanistan, the Army's top chaplain opened up a prayer luncheon by leading a group of soldiers in singing, "Hail Jesus, You're my King."
Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas L. Carver, a 59-year-old Georgia native, joined the Army almost 38 years ago and is preparing to transition out of the military later this year.
Meeting with chaplains and chaplain assistants, Carver stressed the importance of servant leadership and maintaining a ministry of presence amongst the fog of war. He shared a story that related to the parable of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
"When I pinned on my first star, a guy walks up to me and gives me a towel," recalled Carver. "He said the only thing [being] a general officer does for you, it gives you a bigger towel because its about washing feet, and as a general officer you just got more feet to wash."
Looking out into the crowd of soldiers packed into a sand-colored tent, the field artilleryman turned chaplain said he sees some tired faces from a long deployment, and some fresh faces from those just coming into the fight. He called the soldiers agents of hope who have encouraged, comforted and brought sense out of chaos.
"I see symbols of hope for our nation, our Army, for our Chaplain Corps," said a smiling Carver. "Ill be able to sleep good at night knowing the right people are leading our nation."
After arriving at Kandahar Airfield and meeting with members of the Regional Command (South) leadership, Carver and a delegation of other chaplains visited a newly opened coffee shop called, "First Cup." A resiliency center inspired by chaplains and built by a team of soldiers volunteering their time, it provides an opportunity to clear one's mind of the day-to-day stresses of the battlefield.
"It provides a venue for snacks, movies, phones, games, computers, Bible studies, religious services and more," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kelly J. Moore, the Regional Command (South) command chaplain. "Approximately 500 personnel use the facility weekly."
Before sipping on a cup of coffee served up by a First Cup volunteer, Carver took time to recognize two chaplain's assistants by presiding over their promotion. Pfc. Olyn Lowrey, assigned to Task Force Palehorse, and Pfc. Savanna Jackson, assigned to Task Force Attack, of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade were promoted to the rank of specialist.
Following the ceremony, Carver and the other chaplains took a tour of the facility and then held a short all-hands call where he offered thanks and a prayer.
"The highlight of my trip was just the opportunity to spend a few moments with these awesome soldiers who are standing out here in arms way, protecting the freedoms of our great land," remarked Carver. "It makes me proud to be an American; proud to be a Solider among them."
Carver who accepted Christ as his savior at the age of 11, said that one of his guiding verses of scripture is Matthew 6:33 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Before boarding his plane, he offered a short prayer.
"My prayer for the members our armed services is that God with keep them strong; that he would keep them secure in their surroundings; that he would give them success for every mission; that he would keep them save and bring them back home to their loved ones."