By Staff Sgt. Christopher BlakesleeNovember 1, 2013
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Physical. Mental. Spiritual. These are the three pillars that drive the soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division. These pillars have proven to be the backbone of the regiment's leadership in how they focus on the development of their Soldiers.
"When you look at a triangle, it has three sides," said Capt. Curtis Sutherland the 1-41chaplain. "We do a good job as an Army in developing the minds and bodies of our troops. As a chaplain, I feel it's my responsibility to help develop the spiritual side of the Soldiers in my care to make that triangle more structurally sound."
Each section has its own time slot. Physical training is done during morning PT. Mental training is done through online courses, daily skill-set training and trade or technical courses. The spiritual wellness and fitness of soldiers is generally left in the hands of Army chaplains.
In this modern age of video games and high-tech gadgets, spiritual leaders need to find new and creative ways to engage a younger generation in regards to spiritual growth.
"We're doing a tour of several historic churches in the area," added Sutherland. "This allows our soldiers to not only learn about the rich history and culture of the different faiths in the greater Savannah area, but to also explore and have their questions answered by actual pastors, priest and lay leaders of the several different denominations we're visiting today."
This novel approach to bridging the generational gap appears to be well-received by the soldiers in attendance.
"This is a great opportunity to learn and grow," said Staff Sgt. Angelo Avgerinos, a career counselor assigned to 1-41FA. "This historic church tour is exciting, fun and educational, and it gives us a chance to learn about the different denominations out there in our geographical living areas."
The tour which took place Oct. 23, started with Sutherland cooking a delicious pumpkin pancake breakfast with eggs and coffee, followed by a moment of prayer and explanation of the various churches the tour group would visit.
"Today we're going to visit several historic churches, starting with the Midway Church just down the road from post which was in existence before the Revolutionary War, and ending the day at the Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Church," added Sutherland. "Each church has a unique history or story, and I encourage you to ask questions, take pictures and enjoy the day."
A total of four churches were visited and the soldiers took a break to have lunch in downtown Savannah.
It's apparent that the soldiers of 1-41FA are so well-rounded because of its chaplain taking a special interest in developing the soldiers in his care by thinking outside the box, by finding a way to bridge a modern-day high-tech generation with faith and history, by creating and properly executing such a unique tour as this.