Soldiers gather for fallen police officer
April 18, 2011
- Sgt. James T. Chapin of the Chattanooga Police Department was killed in the line of duty on April 2, 2011
- Soldiers at Camp Arifjan knew and worked with him
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait-Even though an event happens back in the United States, it does not mean Soldiers far from home are not affected by it. Losing a comrade, whether in combat or back home, has an emotional impact on a Soldier. Being isolated can make it hard to cope with such an event and gain some type of closure.
When Sgt. James T. Chapin of the Chattanooga Police Department was killed in the line of duty on April 2, 2011, it affected Soldiers at Camp Arifjan who knew and worked with him. Among those is Staff Sgt. David L. Young, the brigade paralegal noncommissioned officer in charge, who worked under Chapin in Chattanooga, Tenn., as a patrolman and a member of the department's Color Guard.
When Young found out about the memorial, he went to the Chaplain's office to see if there was anything the chaplain's office could do to help all the police officers stationed here at Camp Arifjan. Within the 230th Sustainment Brigade, there are four Soldiers that work for the Chattanooga Police Department, as well as a Sailor assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, Forward Headquarters here at Camp Arifjan. There are also several Soldiers assigned within the 230th serving with other law enforcement agencies across the state of Tennessee. Young, being a member of the Honor Guard, felt obligated to be at the memorial. Young was devastated over the death of Chapin.
The first person Young spoke with was Staff Sgt. Shannon Biggs, the chaplain's assistant to Chaplain (Maj.) Patrick P. Brownell, the brigade chaplain, and a member of the Spring Hill Police Department. "Staff Sgt. Young came to me," said Biggs, "and let me know that we had a fallen brother in Chattanooga, Tenn. We then decided to get together and have some kind of a service." Biggs then went to Brownell to see about a memorial service. Brownell suggest a prayer service since they are already having a memorial.
"I thought it (the service) was great," said a glassy eyed Young. "Having four police officers in one unit and another in the Navy, come together to and be able to have somewhat of a closure here in Kuwait. The (prayer) service from the chaplain was great. That was the whole point of us coming together and paying out last respects to our fallen brother even though we couldn't be back in the states to see anything."
"To have fellow law enforcement brothers come in and share in the grief with the Chattanooga Police Department was also awesome," said Young smiling.
Being in a warzone, the Soldiers cannot attend the memorial at home, but with modern technology, they can come together and view the memorial via the Internet.
"I think the service was good," said Biggs. "It helped bring closure because all these people who are 8,000 miles away who knew Sgt. Chapin gave them some time to get some things off of their chest and talk." The service gave law enforcement families who worked with Chapin a chance to come together, to share their stories and feelings.
The military and civilian law enforcement agencies are structured almost the same way. As such, the tight bonds and camaraderie within their ranks are very similar.
Brownell started the service with a prayer and then offered comforting words. He suggest to everyone at the service to share stories about Chapin and express their feelings. Several people at the service were distraught over the death of Chapin.
"Even though we were not able to physically be at the funeral, we did get to see some of it from here. Just seeing the parts of the memorial, we were able to see, it did started the closure process for us. When we get back to Chattanooga, it will not be as bad as if we didn't see any of the memorial," said Young.
Even though they did watch some of the memorial, there were large gaps they missed due to connection interruptions. A disc of the complete memorial ceremony is being sent to the officers here on the Chattanooga Tenn. police department, so can come together again and view it in its entirety.