Chaplain, train for the worst, pray for the best
March 27, 2013
By David Edge
FORT POLK, La. - At the Joint Readiness Training Center, the chaplains train to face every possible worst case scenario. The chaplains had to deal with angry Mullahs, snipers, the media, and even death. Their Traumatic Event Management skills where tested several times over.
Chaplain, the very word brings to mind a person that is kind and loving, a person of devout faith, and a person of supreme inter-strength. The special group of military men and women that we call chaplains are all these things and more.
In addition to their chosen faith, chaplains also serve the men and women of the U.S. Military.
"Soldiers and their family members need to know that no matter where they are, either back home at Fort Polk, here at the Joint Readiness Training Center, or deployed to any war zone, there will be a chaplain and a chaplain's assistant that is dedicated to taking care of them and their families," said Maj. Ned Bartlebaugh, chaplain, Patriot SFAB.
Military chaplains have two different missions, serving their faith and serving their commanders. During times of war, chaplains tend to the religious need of the troops, talk to cultural and religious leaders, and humanitarian organizations like the Red Crescent. In garrison, they minister to the Soldiers and their families. They are crisis managers, spiritual leaders, and councilors to those in need.
At the Joint Readiness Training Center the chaplains train to face every possible worst case scenario. The chaplains had to deal with angry Mullahs, snipers, the media, and even death. Their Traumatic Event Management skills where tested several times over.
During the first scenario of the exercise, the chaplain was visiting the head of the local Red Crescent in the village. The chaplain and his team were attacked by a sniper. While trying to evacuate the chaplain, a soldier was fictionally wounded. Once the team was safe and secure on the Forward Operating Base, the chaplain gathered the team around him and delivered the news that the wounded soldier, their brother in arms, had died while being Medivaced. This was visibly hard for the chaplain and the soldiers. The chaplain led a prayer for the deceased soldier and offered to talk to any of the soldiers separately if they needed to talk about what they were feeling. The chaplain was given very little time for any of this because the role played Afghan media showed up wanting to talk to him. That was just one part of the exercise, and the day was just getting started.
The final phase of the exercise was no less challenging for the chaplain and his team. After inadvertently insulting the head Mullah by not visiting him first, the Personal Security Detachment was targeted by a female suicide bomber. While trying to get the chaplain to safety the PSD was peppered by sniper fire. The PSD immediately engages the sniper only to find out that they had been caught in a deadly crossfire. Mortars seem to rain all around the team. One of their vehicles is damaged by mortar fire and must be towed. After a prolonged battle the PSD is finally able to get the chaplain and the vehicle to safety, ending the exercise.
"During this training at JRTC the team that I am working with is a mix from across the brigade. I am a 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Patriot SFAB chaplain, my chaplain's assistant is from the, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, Patriot SFAB and my Personal Security Detachment is from the 3rd Squadron, 89th Calvary Regiment, Patriot SFAB. We all just met the day before this mission. The mission was highly successful, and that is because of our Army training and the ability of the Patriot SFAB to work well together," said Capt. Jason Heneise, chaplain, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Patriot SFAB.
If you would like to follow the Patriot SFAB while we are at the Joint Readiness Training Center like the Patriot SFAB's facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/10thMTNPatriots.