CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- U.S. Army Chaplain Corps personnel gathered at Chièvres Air Base Feb. 27 to improve their ability to plan operations.Each month mission partners from the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, 39th Strategic Signal Battalion (SSB) and Allied Forces North Battalion (AFNORTH BN) review religious support-related skills with a special emphasis on training guidance set by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains.The training was part two of a series in developing leaders who can work at the operational and strategic levels. Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kelly Porter, USAG Benelux chaplain, explained the need for the training from his experience as a junior officer."I realized a lot of confusion exists on how the individual chaplain or religious affairs specialist fits into the big picture of how the Army fights," he said.Chaplain (Capt.) Brian Phipps, battalion chaplain assigned to AFNORTH BN, facilitated the training. Participants reviewed Army doctrine and an exercise operations order. They concluded training with a practical exercise to create a religious support running estimate and a religious support plan."Operations planning is about being in the right place at the right time to minister to Soldiers in the battle," said Phipps.He recalled his own experiences in brigade combat teams at Fort Stewart, Georgia and Fort Wainwright, Alaska."I quickly discovered I needed to understand what the rest of the staff was doing and how the battle changed from day to day," said Phipps. "After a lot of blurry-eyed, late nights conducting mission analysis, I not only understood how the Army plans but I gained a lot of insight into the spiritual needs of the staff itself."Pfc. Edwin Melgar, USAG Benelux, was grateful for the training and teamwork in the room."Chaplain (Capt. Michael) Beck, (39th SSB), helped me understand how to read an order," said Melgar. "If someone had put that in front of me without explaining it, I would have been completely lost."In April the Benelux-assigned teams will put that understanding into context as they travel to Ypres, Belgium to conduct a staff ride with members of the Royal Army Chaplain's Department in the British army. Training will focus on providing religious support in casualty care.To learn more about how the ministry staff can help you and your Family, contact the Religious Support Office at Chièvres Air Base, Building 20005, Room G5.01 or by phone at +32 (0) 68 25-5568.Related Links:USAG Benelux Religious Support OfficeUSAG Benelux Gazette