Building spiritual readiness in the Pacific
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chaplains from Pacific Air Forces, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command gleaned insight on the future of religious affairs in the Pacific theater during the Chaplaincy Annual Sustainment Training on Marine Corps Base Hawaii Chapel in Kaneohe, Hawaii, May 1-3, 2023.The three-day event culminated with a panel discussion focused on increasing joint religious interoperability. (U.S. Army photo by Mary A. Andom) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Building spiritual readiness in the Pacific
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) William “Bill” Green Jr., U.S. Army deputy chief of chaplains, and Sgt. Maj. Meaghan E. Bicklein, acting U.S. Army Chaplain Corps regimental sergeant major, visited U.S. Army Pacific religious support personnel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Chapel in Kaneohe, Hawaii, May 1-3. (U.S. Army photo by Mary A. Andom) (Photo Credit: 2nd Lt. Mary Andom) VIEW ORIGINAL

Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) William “Bill” Green Jr., U.S. Army deputy chief of chaplains, and Sgt. Maj. Meaghan E. Bicklein, acting U.S. Army Chaplain Corps regimental sergeant major, visited Pacific-based religious support personnel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Chapel in Kaneohe, Hawaii, May 1-3.

The Chaplaincy Annual Sustainment Training brought together over 160 USARPAC Chaplain Corps members from across the Pacific.

The three-day training provided chaplains, religious affairs specialists, and directors of religious education with an opportunity for mentorship, professional development and continuing education.

The attendees also participated in break-out sessions covering topics such as character development, adopting a strategic mindset and building stronger unit ministry teams.

Green, the former USARPAC Command Chaplain, said the complex challenges religious affairs Soldiers face in the Pacific theater include providing direct spiritual support in multi-domain operations across time, space and distance.

“If I can’t get to my Soldiers or my leaders to perform direct religious support in person then we will have to use another platform in order to so,” he said. “This is why CAST is important for us to explore these conversations on what that looks like for the Army as a land component and how we can adapt. We have to continue to train as we would possibly fight.”

Green, an ordained Baptist minister and the director of the U.S. Army Institute for Religious Leadership at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, said spiritual readiness equips Soldiers with methods and processes to work through times of challenge and difficulty.

“It is harder to fight if you are worried about home or if you have personal challenges, you may not be able to work through,” he said. “But when you seek to have a better understanding of who you are spiritually it can help free you and make you an even better Soldier.”

The mission of the Army Chaplain Corps is to “provide religious support and advise on matters of spirituality and religion to build strong, ready teams to deploy, fight, and win our Nation’s wars, as a unique and necessary branch of the Total Army that is fully engaged in Joint and multidomain operations in war and peace,” its website states.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Canfield, a religious affairs NCO, U.S. Army Garrison Alaska, said CAST helped him garner a better understanding of how each service approaches the same challenges in a joint, dispersed environment.

“Hearing the joint perspective helps me understand the robust battlefield and track the various religious support teams across the Pacific,” said Canfield. “Communicating effectively will allow us to better provide religious support across the operational environment.”

The event culminated with a panel discussion focused on increasing joint religious interoperability. Chaplains from Pacific Air Forces, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command gleaned insight on the future of religious affairs in the Pacific theater.

For U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jasmine Edwards, a religious program specialist and chaplain assistant, Marine Corps Base Kaneohe, tending to the spiritual needs of service members requires adopting a joint mindset.

“At the end of the day we have one goal in mind on the chaplain side of the house and that’s taking care of people,” he said. “Regardless of what uniform they wear we will not turn anyone away. We have to stay resilient so we can help others find their way out.”