FORT BUCHANAN, PR- The role of the military chaplains in support U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico mission, takes a special relevance during the observance of the Holy Week and as hundreds of local troops continue serving in Afghanistan and others prepare to deploy in the near future. With their service, Chaplains ensure soldiers and families are ready to face the difficulties that a mobilization presents."Chaplains provide for the free exercise of religion and serve those who need counsel or confidential discussions of moral or ethics, "said Chaplain Col. Edward Grice, 1st Mission Support Command. U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico command chaplain.The Army Reserve's objective is to develop soldiers and family members who are resilient and able to continue serving the nation in times of mobilizations and deployments. In a command that has deployed over 95 percent of its personnel since the year 2001, the mental and emotional health of the troops and families is greatly important.During deployments, soldiers are exposed to high levels of stress due to the austere conditions of the places where they usually work, as well as the combat environment, coupled with the family separation anxiety.Having a religious leader in uniform, available at any time in a combat zone, reduces the stress levels of the troops."With our presence in the battlefield, we help soldiers alleviate the combat stress by providing professional counseling," said 1st Lt. Monserrate Vergara Soto, Chaplain Candidate assigned to the 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. US Army Reserve Chaplains deploy anywhere soldiers deploy. There, the Chaplains perform religious services, counseling and ensure every troop is free to exercise their freedom of religion, whatever that religion may be. Military chaplains equally serve soldiers and families of all religions and denominations.One of the programs that the Chaplains from the US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico successfully implement to serve troops and families is the Strong Bonds program. Through Strong Bonds, the Army Reserve-Puerto Rico educates troops and family members about family relations, communication and crisis management, all in a high rated hotel in the Caribbean island, all expenses paid.Those soldiers or family members interested in knowing more about the services offered by the US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico Chaplains can contact the 1st MSC Chaplains office at 787-707-4956.