The 7th Infantry Division religious affairs team held the first event in a series of collective trainings at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Museum on Jan. 18. The series of training events are aimed at developing both the individual religious affairs specialist and the brigade teams; further developing and improving their collective support to the Soldiers of 7 ID.
7 ID religious affairs team, supported by civilian trainers, hosted training for enlisted and officer religious affairs teams. While keeping within their brigade structures, the teams worked diligently through a variety of scenarios with a heavy focus on their role in the military decision making process, or MDMP, which the Army uses during planning and execution of operations.
“You have young chaplains and young religious saffairs specialists that ... probably never would have thought about or heard of MDMP until later on in their careers. Now we'll be able to go into these rotations (National Training Center) with a better critical thinking mindset.” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael R. Campbell, 7 ID religious affairs non-comissioned officer.
Religious affairs non-commissioned officers are found at each battalion and brigade level headquarters; the primary duties are to support the religious needs of the unit, including services at remote locations, counseling, supporting religious celebrations, and training.
“In a perfect world, we would have an Imam for all the Muslim Soldiers who are downrange or in these training environments ... so part of the training was to try to figure out, what would you do if this happened, and you didn't have coordination?” said Campbell.
The trainers placed teams in life-like scenarios that developed the skillset of all members. Furthermore, it created cohesion between teams across the brigade that work closely to coordinate religious support.
Developing critical thinking skills is essential for religious affairs specialist as they are regularly challeneged to resource religious support through other religious affairs teams across the division. Building these skills ealry in a Soldiers career helps set them up for future success.
Campbell said that he intends to align the training with the pre-existing I Corps training. This will enhance training at both events and further develop the skills and attributes required by religious affairs teams. In addition, it will provide consistent interaction and further develop relationships between religious affairs teams across Joint Base Lewis-McChord.