Chief of Chaplains delivers final National Prayer Breakfast keynote address
April 19, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas - Although Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas Carver, the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains, is preparing to retire from the Army after 38 years of service, he took the time for one last trip to the Great Place.
Carver spoke with nostalgia as he attended his final National Prayer Breakfast in his current position April 19, remembering many of his previous visits to Fort Hood.
"This will be my last National Prayer Breakfast as chief of chaplains in this uniform ... as the song goes, if I could do it all over again, I'd do it," he said.
Carver said the Army continues to transition, as he noted the retirement of Gen. George Casey and the installation of Gen. Martin Dempsey as the 37th chief of staff of the Army. Carver also spoke of his respect and admiration for Lt. Gen. Bob Cone, the outgoing commanding general of Fort Hood and III Corps.
"I wanted to say something personally to (Lt.) Gen. Cone, and he's not here because he's getting ready for some pretty big events this week, but I want him to know ... I've seen few men, few commanders, display such courage, strength and compassion, as he did preparing to lead the corps out the door and having to deal with the events of Nov. 5, 2009, at the same time. I hope you never forget what he did, and I hope you thank him for his courage under fire," he said.
Carver accompanied senior leaders to Fort Hood following the shooting, to offer support and pastoral care to the chaplain staff and the community.
During his April 19 address to a large audience at the Phantom Warrior Center, Carver focused on the message of trust. He asked the audience to trust in God, as they trust in each other, and as the American public trusts in them.
"Nothing in all of creation can separate you from the love of God," he said. "My fellow Soldiers, my beloved Soldiers, trust the Lord with all your heart."
Carver also urged the audience to spend time building their faith and spiritual strength.
"If you really take time to listen, maybe shut the iPod off for just a moment, take a knee ... you might just hear God," Carver said.
Fort Hood Garrison Chaplain (Col.) Frank Jackson said Carver's visit was a success. "He was able to see the new campus construction and some of the initiatives that we have focused on single Soldiers."
Jackson added that the event was well-received by the Fort Hood community and played a vital role in the spiritual wellbeing of troops, civilians and family members at the Great Place.
"The National Prayer Breakfast is a great reference point to just continue emphasizing spiritual fitness, hope and encouragement," Jackson said. "This is still a challenging time. This is an opportunity to just pause and reflect on the presence and the blessing of God."
The next U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains was nominated in February by President Barack Obama. Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Douglas Rutherford will take over from Carver in the coming weeks.