Becoming am Antiochian Orthodox minister after being a Roman Catholic priest is like learning to read right to left after reading the opposite way your entire life.A Fort Jackson chaplain did not only that but he has served at Fort Jackson both as an enlisted Soldier and commissioned officer.Chaplain (Maj.) Peter Paul Aleria, 45, born in Davao City, Philippines on the island of Mindanao, spent years of his life as a Catholic priest until scandals and personal reasons caused him to become a lay person."I was ordained a deacon in 1996," he said. "Shortly thereafter I was ordained a priest. I came here in 2000. Before that I was already thinking about leaving the priesthood, but the last straw was when I was assigned in New Jersey" and the scandal hit."I left the priesthood and got a regular civilian job working at Continental Airlines in Newark (New Jersey)," he said."I wanted to change the direction of my life and become a common lay faithful," he added. "I have nothing wrong with the church but I just didn't want to be affiliated" with it.The 9-11 terror attacks and the war in Iraq helped him decide to enlist."I never thought of coming back (to the priesthood) that is why I became enlisted," he said.After training as a 42A -- Human Resource Specialist, Aleria was stationed with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment in the 3rd Stryker Brigade where he deployed to Mosul during the surge.It was during that deployment he met an Orthodox priest who would change his life, the soft-spoken chaplain said. "We were just talking about church -- about everything -- and he was amazed how come I knew a lot of stuff, a lot of lingo, a lot of language about the church; and I told him I used to be a Catholic priest."Aleria's friend asked him if he was interested in coming to the Orthodox Church. He submitted an application to join the chaplaincy and was selected during the deployment causing him to be redeployed early. Around the same time he was also accepted into the Orthodox faith.Aleria said he felt like a "hound of heaven" because God called him back into the privilege of ministry."I have seen through the Grace of God the importance of the chaplaincy," said Aleria, who now leads Jackson's Chaplian Family Life Center. "A deployment as an enlisted Soldier motivated me to become a chaplain. I inquired, I asked, and when I was talking to the Orthodox priest -- who happened to be the 1st (Special Forces) Group chaplain at the time -- he told me of the importance of the chaplaincy and what it brings to the fight while being a force multiplier at the same time.""Chaplains are a great resource for help in times of stressful situations in the heat of war," he added. "That's one that really motivates me."Fort Jackson's installation chaplain praised Aleria for the skills and experience he brings to post."Chaplain Aleria brings incredible capabilities to our religious support mission here at a critical time," said Chaplain (Col.) Mark Penfold. "With his previous assignments and superb pastoral skills, he provides high quality pastoral counseling and great leadership to all of Fort Jackson."Aleria also has a Master's degree in counseling making him perfect to work in the Chaplain Family Life Center.The center takes "care of the bulk of counselings for marriages and Families," he said. "This is mostly for the cadre, the permanent party and the civilians here -- the retirees."He offers all types of counseling from personal, marriage counseling and even Eye Movement Desensitization and Recovery therapy.The EMDR Institute characterizes the process as "psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress" caused by traumatic events.As a prior enlisted Soldier the chaplain is able to feel a Soldier's struggles "with their Families and with their responsibilities. In the lower echelons, I was able to connect with them right away."Orthodox services are set to begin September 11.