FORT HOOD, Texas - The 36th Engineer Brigade celebrated the naming of the Spiritual Resiliency Campus to the Rugged Spirit Chapel with a dedication ceremony here, July 6.
Chaplain (Capt.) Steven Troupe, chaplain for 20th Eng. Battalion, 36th Eng. Bde., shared the story of how the process of renaming and remodeling the building began in January of last year.
“The first morning as I was reporting for morning PT, I walked across Lumberjack Field and saw the chapel building adjacent to the 20th Engineer Battalion’s area of operations. In that moment, the thought came to me, ‘It would be great if we had that chapel to serve the Soldiers of the unit.’ That was as far as things went until one day early in the summer of 2021,” Troupe said. “One morning, as I was walking with Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Poulin, the battalion CSM at that time, he turned to me and asked, ‘Chaplain, what do we have to do to make that our chapel?’ I told him, I would look into it, and after delays for training events and other mission commitments, I started the process.”
Troupe explained that the idea, from the beginning, was to provide a place of worship for the brigade within its footprint and to develop a place of spiritual connection for the greater Fort Hood community.
“With the input and experience of Sgt. Lakisha Miller, religious affairs specialist for 20th Engineer Battalion, a proposal for the sponsorship of the chapel was drafted and presented to Chaplain (Col.) Darren J. Chester, U.S. Army Garrison chaplain,” Troupe said. “With his guidance and support, the final plan to sponsor the chapel was presented to, and approved by, the 36th Engineer Brigade commander, Col. Anthony P. Barbina.
Once Barbina approved the plan, the process of transition from the ‘Spiritual Resiliency Campus’ to the ‘Rugged Spirit Chapel’ began to take shape and pick up speed.”
Including the brigade motto “Rugged” in the new name was important for the 36th Eng. Bde. as Troupe explained it describes past and current Soldiers of the unit.
“The first regimental commander, Col. Paul Ellman, was the first to coin the word ‘rugged’ as applied to the 36th Engineer Regiment.
He used the term to describe his tough Soldiers and their hard work. ‘rugged’ soon became the motto and a sense of pride within the 36th Engineer Regiment in late 1941.
“The descriptor ‘rugged’ has since been used throughout the unit’s history,” Troupe said. “‘Rugged’ not only denotes the quality of the 36th Engineer Brigade’s work, but it describes the quality of the spirit and ethos of its Soldiers past and present.”
After the sign was unveiled to a round of applause, Barbina addressed the group gathered in front of the newly renamed building.
“Our Soldiers have to be rugged,” he said, elaborating on why the name Rugged Spirit Chapel is appropriate for the building in the brigade’s footprint. “They have to be rugged spiritually, rugged from their psyche, in order to be successful in today’s environment.”
After the ceremony, the Soldiers were invited to see the work that’s been done and still needs to be done before its doors are opened.
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Rugged Spirit Chapel once renovations have been completed.