WRITTEN BY:SFC Michael Cox 13th ESC Public Affairs
27 APRIL-The 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command unit ministry team provided security training for UMTs from across Fort Hood April 27. The purpose of the training was to teach chaplains and chaplain assistants how to work together in order to safely move throughout the battlefield.
The UMTs trained on reflexive fire techniques, movement drills and air assault operations. These events taught the chaplain assistants how to move and provide cover for the chaplain so they are combat ready, can move tactically when under fire and increase readiness.
Chaplains are non-combatants. So chaplain assistants must provide protection and ensure the safety of the chaplains as they provide religious support and other services to the Soldiers in a hostile environment.
"The three basic responsibilities of a chaplain and chaplain assistant are to nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the dead," said Master Sgt. Edrena Roberts, command chaplain assistant for the 13th ESC. "In order to provide that religious support to the Soldiers in a combat environment, we have to move that non-combatant chaplain across hostile areas. So our training today is focused moving that chaplain across that hostile environment."
The reflexive fire training focused on chaplain assistants being able to engage targets as the chaplains took cover behind so they can move when under fire. The movement drills consisted of three- to five-second rushes in which two UMTs moved and communicated together as a team providing cover for the other team. The Air Assault Operations taught the teams how to load and offload the UH60 Black Hawk in a safe, tactical manner and establish a hasty perimeter.
"Being a chaplain assistant, we don't get to do this type of training every day. So being here today is really good. We live in uncertain times where there is a lot of stuff going on around the world, and we may have to deploy and serve our country," said Pfc. Demowah Quoiyan, chaplain assistant with the 61st Quartermaster Battalion. "Therefore, we need to be able to protect our chaplains. This training is really valuable."
The chaplains appreciated the training as well because if they are not safe, they cannot provide care for their Soldiers.
"The uniqueness of this is that chaplains are not able or authorized to carry arms so we rely heavily on chaplain assistants to provide that professional security for us during combat," said Maj. Kevin Mucher, regimental chaplain, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. "Communicating and having the ability to train hands on, learn hand and arms signals and verbal ques and work together as a team and learn from our mistakes has been real critical for us so we are prepared for any future operations the Army may have for us."
Roberts added, "We provide something that nobody else in the Army can provide. We can touch the religious and spiritual aspect of every Soldier in the unit so that they can do their job on the battlefield. There is only one chaplain and chaplain assistant per unit. The relationship between the chaplain and chaplain assistant is really tight. They really have to know and work well with each other in a garrison environment as well as a deployed environment. If the chaplain goes down we're in a lot of trouble. So it's the chaplain assistant's job to ensure the safety of the chaplain."