Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps shadowed Fort Campbell chaplains and chaplain assistants to capture "A Day in the Life" of the installation's Unit Ministry Teams for a documentary.
"[The Chief of Chaplains directorate sent personnel] … to get stories, pictures and videos from the Chaplain Corps across the board -- this is the first time they have ever sent them TDY to a division," Chap. (Maj.) Mark Morgan, deputy division chaplain.
"They are going to use the stuff from here for the next six months -- that's what the Chaplain Corps is going to look like, it's going to look like Fort Campbell -- 101st," he added.
Jon Miele and Destiny M. Ridguard, communication consultants for the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, traveled from Washington, D.C., arriving on post Saturday, to begin their three-day journey into the lives of Fort Campbell's Unit Ministry Teams.
The project began with a singularly focused theme, to capture "A Day in the Life" of what was going to be only one chaplain, but it expanded into a much larger mission, said Miele.
"There's so many different chaplains that have so many great stories that it kind of branched into this all-encompassing, 'let's shadow Fort Campbell chaplains,' Miele said. "That's what it really came down to. So moving forward, this might even be the mission for every installation here on out."
Miele and Ridguard ended up shadowing more than 12 of the installation's chaplains and chaplain assistants, said Morgan.
"I told them that we wanted to tell the Screaming Eagle chaplain story," Morgan said. "So they are going to use everything they are getting over these three days for all of the outreach stuff that the Chief of Chaplains offers."
Construction of the project started from the ground up -- from scratch, said Miele.
"We kind of just let [Morgan] take the reins and it's been a fun ride so far -- it's been fantastic," Miele said. "Chaplain Morgan took the ball and totally ran with it."
Communicating the Chaplain Corps message and what they wanted to do at Fort Campbell was not an easy task, said Miele.
"Communicating the whole point was difficult from the start, but when we got here it seems like every chaplain just totally got it like right away and so our experience with each and every one of them -- they have gone above and beyond in terms of what we wanted to capture," Miele said. "We are getting more than we bargained for in each and every story."
"Chaplain Morgan was also integral in putting together our whole itinerary, so we have not only interviewed chaplains but we also interviewed commanders about their perspective on Unit Ministry Teams and the Chaplain Corps and … its value," added Ridguard.
The project began Sunday with the pair shadowing Chap. (Capt.) Chris Campbell, 1st Battalion, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, said Miele.
"He's fantastic. We went to the chapel -- he conducts Chapel Next," Miele said.
"We were able to witness that whole program and the production -- how they help out kids and whatnot."
After Chapel Next, they were invited back to Campbell's home, where they were able to see how the ministry continues, said Miele.
"It never stops when you are a chaplain and chaplain's spouse -- that was kind of cool to witness," Miele said.
Miele and Ridguard were able to see chaplains ministering in several venues, from Sunday chapel to motor stables, as well as shadowing the Unit Ministry Teams as they tackled the Air Assault School Obstacle Course and a two-mile run during physical training.
"There are many facets here -- we've been able to see the 360 view," Ridguard said. "Each chaplain has had a really unique perspective, and all their individual anecdotes and stories provide a lot of detail and depth to our storytelling."
The purpose of the project was not only to capture what chaplains do, but to also witness the challenges Unit Ministry Teams face in order to share those stories with other chaplains, said Miele.
"Kind of care to caregiver … to inspire chaplains, inspire any Soldiers to maybe think about conducting ministry," Miele said. "It's really not so much a magnifying glass as it is opening the door to what the chaplaincy does."
The project is still under construction, but Miele and Ridguard know the information they have gathered so far will be an intregal part of the mission that sent them to Fort Campbell.
"It's a bunch of stories we can put up to showcase the Chaplain Corps, by whatever medium that might be -- written stories, social media is huge which will probably be our primary focus … but, overall we hope for a much larger product," Miele said.
"I can't say what that might be, but we are advocating for something powerful and strong in the long run."
Miele and Ridguard said their experience at Fort Campbell was excellent, and they hope to return.
"It was a wonderful experience," Miele said. "I still think there was a lot I wanted to capture that unfortunately due to scheduling wasn't possible, so there is still much more of a story to tell, that's for sure."