Boots are on the ground for Fort Leonard Wood's new garrison chaplain.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) David Bowlus arrived on the installation a little more than a week ago, and is ready to hit the ground running to meet the members of the community.

"I am very excited to be here. This is my first time as an (installation) chaplain," said Bowlus, a Pemberville, Ohio native who has been in the Army for 24 years.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) David Bowlus, garrison chaplain, arrived at Fort Leonard Wood July 17.
A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Alliance Theological Seminary and the U.S. Army War College, Bowlus was commissioned as an armor officer in 1993. He later felt the call to ministry, received a seminary education, and returned to the Army as a chaplain in 2002.

Since that time, he has served as a battalion and regimental chaplain, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan seven times. He also served as the 101st Airborne Division chaplain from 2014 to 2016 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he deployed to Liberia to aid in the fight against the Ebola Virus and spent last spring in Mosul, Iraq, as the Army helped the Iraqi army take the city back from ISIS.

Bowlus said he is excited that he "gets" to be the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence garrison chaplain.

"I have the blessing of leading some great chaplains and chaplain's assistants across the (installation)," Bowlus said.

"My vision is that we can take the bar to the next level and create vibrant worship opportunities for Soldiers, civilians and their Families."

The Religious Support Office exists to make sure chaplains and chaplain's assistants have everything they need to be successful in providing religious support to the community.

"We want to make sure religious education is robust and happening so people grow in their faith while they are here," Bowlus said.

Bowlus said the Fort Leonard Wood RSO is already doing well, "but the garrison commander has asked me to take it to the next level, and I am looking forward to doing that." "I am still doing assessments, meeting senior leaders, chaplains and chaplain's assistants. I am accessing what is going well -- and there is a lot going well -- and what we can change to make it even better," he said.

"Faith matters more than we realize," Bowlus said. "I recognize that we serve many different faith groups on post. I want to see each service be as vibrant as it can, make sure they are well led and that they have the resources to do that."

A father of two, Bowlus and his wife have been married for 24 years.

"She has been with me the entire ride and she is excited to be here, too," he said.

In his spare time, Bowlus said he loves to spend time with his Family, play the guitar and enjoy the outdoors through biking and running.

"I think I am going to get into hunting and fishing while I am here, too," he added.

Now that Bowlus is in place, he said there are several ways people can support him.

"Pray for me and pray for our team as we lead. Also, stop by and say hi, and introduce yourself. I am an open book as far as hearing from the community on what we can do better, what is working, and what is not working. I would like to hear (from you), because I am doing my needs analysis right now," Bowlus said.

Since his arrival, the RSO has launched a Facebook page to help community members keep track of RSO events. To follow the Facebook page, visit www.facebook.com/fortleonardwoodRSO. Bowlus is also on Twitter at twitter.com/ MSCoE_Padre.

"Follow me," Bowlus said. "We will be posting good-news stories and announcements for the community."