By Pfc. Crystal M. O'Neal, 2nd HBCT Public AffairsAugust 13, 2009
FORT IRWIN, Calif. Despite the heavy demands of training, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers found a way to relax and unwind - spiritually.
On Aug. 5, after training was done for the day, 3rd ID and all associated Soldiers gathered together in building 6000 of the National Training Center's area of operation at Fort Irwin, Calif. for a mid-week Bible study session.
The session, led by Chaplain (Capt.) Patrick Vandurme, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID, lasted for about an hour, giving Soldiers a chance to listen to verses from the Bible, pray, and talk to Chap. Vandurme as needed.
One Soldier who participated in the event, 2nd Lt. Scott Daniels, Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID, said that having a moment to focus on spirituality was exactly what the Soldiers needed.
"Coming here tonight was a great experience for me and the other Soldiers who came out and participated. It was very uplifting and good for morale," said 2nd Lt. Daniels.
Private First Class Stephen Drake, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 26th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID, stated that by having the service, Soldiers were assured that they would always have somewhere to worship, whether in garrison, training, or deployed.
"I'm the chaplain's assistant for my battalion, so I know how important it is for us Soldiers to have somewhere to express ourselves religiously. With all the training we're doing to prepare for the upcoming deployment, physically, it's good to know that our spiritual needs will also be met," said Pfc. Drake.
Chaplain Vandurme said that he and the other chaplains in 2nd HBCT and attached units are working together, along with their commanders, to be sure that Soldiers can turn to their chaplain at anytime.
"We work for our commanders and for our Soldiers. Our leadership has implemented a religious plan for Soldiers to always have a way to talk to a chaplain when they feel the need to, whether in training or down range. Also, the specific religion a Soldier believes in doesn't matter; I'm here for every Soldier, no matter what their religious preference is," said the chaplain.
The chaplain also said that helping Soldiers with problems and situations at NTC has definitely been good pre-deployment training.
"It gets us chaplains ready and prepared for whatever situations Soldiers have while we're in Iraq. We are doing our job here and taking it seriously - so we can get it right while we are over there," he added.