Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Sedwick ushered in a new era of spiritual guidance with his arrival as the chaplain of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. July 2.

Sedwick began his career in the Army Reserves in Indiana, and comes to SDDC from U.S. Army South Headquarters, where he served as the plans and operations Chaplain. Now that he's with SDDC, he is excited about what he is going to be able to afford the command

"My primary goal is to provide world-class religious support to all of our SDDC team members - both civilian and military personnel - through weekly Bible studies, hospital visits, and counseling sessions," he said.

"I will also be visiting all of our brigades and providing mentoring to our chaplains assigned to these units," he added.

Sedwick replaced Chaplain (Maj.) Bradley Kattelmann who had spent the last 11 months revitalizing the program within the command, something Sedwick says laid a good foundation for his upcoming programs.

"Chaplain Kattelmann did an extraordinary job as the Command Chaplain at SDDC," he said. "And thanks to that I will be able to provide a consistent, intentional religious support plan which will provide continuity in pastoral care and mentorship for SDDC."

Sedwick knows building trust is key to being a religious guide, so he is focused on ensuring every member of the command knows he is the person they can turn to in times of need and that he is available anytime, anywhere.

"I want to earn the right among the SDDC community to be their Chaplain. That means I will answer my phone - even in the middle of the night or the middle of an eight-mile run," he said.

But Sedwick also recognizes that not everyone in the command believes in a higher power or has the same religious beliefs he does. This is something he says all Chaplains should be prepared for and be willing to accept.

"I will not impose my religious values on anyone, but I will offer religious support to all SDDC members who are receptive," he said.

That said, Sedwick believes religious support is essential to mission success, and needs to be considered when planning and coordinating missions.

"I want our brigade command teams to consider the impact of religion on operations and also to appreciate their unit ministry team as a combat force multiplier for the Soldiers," he said. "My goal is to represent the reality that Chaplains are Soldiers, too."

It was with this in mind that he had initially decided to become a Chaplain in the U.S. Army.

"I became an Army Chaplain because I remain humbled by the reality that less than one percent of the U.S. population serves as members of the Armed Forces," he said.

And he says it has been his experiences that have kept him motivated to be a religious leader for all under his care.

"Before I had the opportunity to deploy, I conducted seven casualty notifications throughout the Midwest. This is one of the Army Chaplain Corps' core competencies: honor the fallen, along with nurturing the living and comforting the wounded," he said.

"Those casualty notifications, I have now conducted 12 in my career, persuaded me that taking care of Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians and their family members is a sacred responsibility," he added.

When Sedwick isn't tending to the religious needs of his flock, he is passionate about one other thing -- something he does because of a monumental sacrifice.

"My passion, besides bringing God to Soldiers and Soldiers to God, is running," he said. "I am a member of 'Wear Blue: Run to Remember,' which is a running community established by a Gold Star Wife whose husband was killed in Afghanistan. I have been an active member since my days at Fort Benning, Georgia."

Whether it is getting to know the Surface Warriors of SDDC or making the 6.5-mile trek around the base, Sedwick says he is ready for his new adventure and has hit the ground running.