By Pvt. Lee, Eun Hong, 2ID PAOJune 18, 2008
Lt. Col. Richard Spencer served as a Military Police Officer at Camp Casey in 1977. Now, 30 years later, he is back with 2nd Infantry Division as a Catholic Priest serving as the division chaplain.
Spencer assumed the role of the Warrior Division's spiritual advisor during a Passing of the Stole ceremony June 4 at the Camp Red Cloud Chapel. Spencer, who was released from active duty in 1980 and returned to the Army as a Catholic priest in 1999, was deputy command chaplain of 18th Medical Command at Yongsan.
This ceremony represents the passing of spiritual leadership. By doing so, Spencer received responsibility for supervision of the Division's ministry teams from Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Franklin Jackson, who served as the division chaplain since he replaced Chaplain Mike Durham, last year.
This ceremony has been the standard of the 2nd Infantry Division since 1970. It started with a prelude played by the 2nd Infantry Division Band. As the national anthems rang through the church, Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III and both chaplains walked in.
"I had a chance to work with Chaplain Spencer when I was at (Fort) Polk, (La.) during Hurricane Katrina," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Charles Jackson, 8th Army deputy chaplain said during the ceremony. "He was a part of the clinical education religious support team. They came up to support us during that time. I think he is the right selection for the division."
After the remarks, Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, 2ID commanding general, assumed the stole from Chaplain Franklin Jackson and passed it on to Spencer.
"Today I charge you to carry and to protect Soldiers' right to religious freedom and to faithfully lead our Division ministry team," Morgan said. "I welcome you to the 2nd Infantry Division. We look forward to working and serving with you. Good luck and Godspeed as you take our mantel of leadership for this great division."
As the general's speech ended, Chaplain Franklin Jackson thanked the audience.
"Thank you for everyone attending this Passing of the Stole ceremony," said Jackson, "Thank you, division ministry team and Family members. I'm especially grateful for General Morgan and Col. Robert Pricone, (2ID Chief of Staff) who set the standard high and encouraged us to attain our mission."
"It's exciting to see a new division chaplain," said Spc. Davis Miller, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 70th Brigade Support Battalion. "I saw the chaplain before Chaplain Jackson, Chaplain Durham. He had done a great job and was a great division chaplain, so it was so exciting to see Jackson, who has a very different personality, and Chaplain Jackson did a good job following Chaplain Durham."
Miller also said he had a wish for Spencer.
"I hope that he doesn't feel overwhelmed with his work and stays focused on his job and Soldiers," he said.
"I'll be very present and available to the troops," said Spencer, "to work with them, along with them, to laugh with them and to train with them during this entire year."