FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Dec. 20, 2012) -- The U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains and his sergeant major visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., recently to gain a better understanding of First Army Division East's purpose and mission.

"The chief and the regimental sergeant major are significant leaders in our Army," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Donald Huey, First Army Division East chaplain. "They are the leaders of the Army Chaplain Corps. Seeing Division East on its turf and talking with Division East key leaders, and Soldiers, enhances their appreciation of the complexities and tempo of the Division East mission, and the rhythm of life for our Soldiers and their families."

During his visit, Maj. Gen. Donald Rutherford, and Chaplains Corps Regimental Sergeant Major Sgt. Maj. Stephen Stott sat down with the First Army Division East command team Maj. Gen. Kevin Wendel and Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese to discuss the importance of and need for support of the chaplain mission to First Army's training mission.

"First Army chaplains are critical to our mission success in two ways," said Huey. "First, we provide religious support to First Army Soldiers in order to help them strengthen their spiritual resiliency. Spiritually resilient Soldiers and families are better able to contribute to unit missions on an enduring basis. Secondly, we train chaplains and assistants assigned to deploying units. This training prepares them to minister to Soldiers in their deployment areas of operation."

First Army ensures mobilization training is relevant, realistic and reflects the most current conditions Soldiers will face in theater. First Army Division East directly supports the Chief of Staff of the Army's priority of providing trained, equipped and ready forces to win the current fight, while maintaining responsiveness for unforeseen contingencies.

During the visit, Huey said they focused on the Strong Bonds. Strong Bonds, a unit-based, chaplain-led program, assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army family. They also discussed the training Division East provides deploying unit ministry teams and deploying units.

"First Army Division East contributes to the health of our deployed forces by training their chaplains and assistants to provide religious support downrange -- wherever downrange may be," said Huey.

Huey added that Soldiers having religions freedom is an important piece for many Soldiers when deployed.

In addition, Huey added that increasing studies show Soldiers who are spiritually fit are more resilient in the face of prolonged adversity and are better able to handle the demands and wounds of war.

The Chief of Chaplains of the Army is the chief supervising officer of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps. From 1775 to 1920, chaplains were attached to separate units. Today, chaplains are noncombatants -- meaning they do not have the right to participate directly in hostilities. As chaplains, they minister to military personnel and their families, as well as civilians working for the military. They work with personnel of all faiths, and those with none.

Page last updated Thu December 20th, 2012 at 00:00