By Staff Sgt. Bryan LewisAugust 27, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The 2-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade unit ministry team held its first ever prayer breakfast Aug. 21 at the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade dining facility in order to provide spiritual resiliency to soldiers.
"It [spiritual fitness] is another dimension. When you're spiritually resilient, it gives you something to hold onto, because you can only do so much with physical limitations," said Capt. D.J. Brock, 2-158th AHB chaplain.
The event received support from the unit's highest level on down as the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jason L. Miller, gave his opening remarks to the audience.
"We do a lot of work on our physical side and our emotional side. Now it's time to focus some more on our spiritual side for our future endeavors.
"I want to encourage you to listen to the words that they are saying and find some motivational tool that you can take with you as you leave here today and apply it to your everyday life."
Following the opening remarks, soldiers in the dining facility joined in while different 2-158th AHB leaders lead them in songs and prayers for leadership and the nation.
The guest speaker for the prayer breakfast was Capt. Frederick Smalls Sr., Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division chaplain. Smalls was a former pro football player in the National Football League and bodyguard for numerous entertainers prior to receiving his master's degree in theology and divinity.
Smalls' message to the packed room focused on overcoming obstacles.
"We face challenges every day. Every time you put that uniform on, it's a challenge," Smalls began. "There's always going to be a challenge every day you decide to put these boots on, because these boots represent war."
The presentation encouraged every soldier look at how they deal with struggles in life.
"How many people here have faced their giants? I'm not talking about the New York Giants, the San Francisco Giants or Jack and the Beanstalk giants," Smalls asked.
"What I mean by giants, symbolically, are trials, tribulations, problems and obstacles. Do you look them in the eye, or do you put your head down to them. Do you challenge your giants, or do you let them overpower you?"
As soldiers from the 16th CAB and various other units continued to enter the dining facility to be a part of the prayer breakfast, Smalls gave advice on how to overcome challenges.
"Giants are meant to be slayed and giants are meant to come down. It all depends on your faith, how you walk in [to situations] and your determination."
"In football when you lace those cleats up, you know it's game time. There's a chance I'm coming out of the game with a broken knee or a concussion. I'm ready for the pain just as I am for the benefits, because I'm ready for war."
At the end of the prayer breakfast, soldiers lined up to shake hands with the ministry team and take photos with the guest speaker.
"Life has mountaintops, when everything is good and it has valleys, when it's rough," Brock said. "When you get through it, you can look back and say I did it."
Smalls' motivational message came prior to the 16th CAB's missions to support operations in the Pacific and around the world.
"When I see Soldiers with issues, I want to encourage them to let them know they made this choice and they can overcome those obstacles, those tribulations. You are able to prevail if you continue on," Smalls said.