USASMDC/ARSTRAT gains command chaplain
April 15, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - With the arrival of Chaplain (Col.) Douglas K. Kinder, to Redstone Arsenal on Feb. 6, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command not only gained its first command chaplain, but the workforce gained a friend and confidant.
A native of Milwaukee, Kinder came to USASMDC/ARSTRAT after a tour of duty as the European Region chaplain. He began his military career in 1972 where he served two years in the Adjutant General Corps at Fort Knox, Ky. Kinder then returned to college to earn his Master of Divinity in 1978. After pastoring churches in Kansas City, Mo., and Atlanta, he became an Army chaplain in 1986.
Kinder talked about his role and how it feels to be USASMDC/ARSTRAT's first command chaplain.
"I think the command realizes that when we talk about resiliency, one of the pillars of resiliency is spiritual resiliency and that is what the chaplain brings," Kinder said. "It is very important. The last poll I read is that 90 percent of people believe in God, so they use God as a resource and what better way than to have a chaplain here who can help people, no matter what their religious persuasion, to spiritual maturity and to grow in their spiritual relationship."
He also spoke of what he hopes to accomplish during his time here at Redstone Arsenal.
"I see the command is spread all over. 'The sun never sets on SMDC,' is what I was told, and it is really true." Kinder said. "The command is spread out over almost every time zone. Some of the folks are pretty isolated and they don't have a chaplain so they need someone like myself, and we have a few chaplains in Colorado Springs, to make sure we equitably provide spiritual ministry to our constituents.
"I look at resiliency and I look at target groups," he continued. "We've got single Soldiers. We've got married Soldiers and we want to take care of them and we want to take care of their spouses and family members. We want to provide things as well for our Department of the Army civilians and contractors. So looking at all of that, what is the strategic plan we can come up with to do some of those things to make a difference'
"I find, for example, with Soldiers, if they see the chaplain and the command in general are interested in them and taking care of their Families, then their welfare, their morale is up. When their morale is up their performance is up and their production is up," Kinder added. "I think that is a key, and sometimes it is just a little thing, like doing a retreat or a program for the Soldiers and their Families, that can make a difference in the way they perform."
Kinder's military education includes the Chaplain Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Armed Service Staff School, Command and General Staff College, Division Chaplain Course and Army War College. He also earned a Doctor of Ministry.
Some of Kinder's former military assignments include Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Story, Va.; Fort Eustis, Va.; Presidio of Monterey, Calif.; Fort Myer, Va.; Hungary; Bosnia and Germany.
With his various duty stations and experiences, Kinder said he hopes to be a person who makes a difference for the Soldiers and their family members as well as the civilian workforce and help be a positive influence for those who are serving their country both here at home and while deployed in harm's way.
"The key is that the command wants me to get out and they expect me to have that face-time with people," Kinder said. "We call it a 'Ministry of Presence' in the chaplaincy but it goes a long way when you are physically there and people get to know you, and then I get to put faces with names and faces with voices, and I can see what conditions they are living under. I can also go out to Kwajalein or Alaska, where they may have shortages, and report back to the command and give them an unvarnished assessment of what is going on out there in the field.
"I think it is value-added for a chaplain to go out in the field," he added. "People really seem to appreciate having the chaplain out there to see him, to visit with and to have him do some active-listening and hear what is going on. Where I can make a difference is to organize programs in some far-flung places of the globe that haven't had a lot of programs yet."
To make an appointment to meet with the command chaplain, contact him at 955-5027 or e-mail him at Douglas.Kinder@smdc.army.mil.
"We want to make sure we are working as a dynamic team melded together to cover all of our constituents," Kinder said. "I am here to serve the command and want people to know I am always here for them and whatever the issue may be, no matter how big or small, they always have someone to come to."