By Spc. Jaime DeLeonSeptember 16, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHANK, Afghanistan - Chaplain (Maj.) Bradley West, Task Force Spartan chaplain, was presented the Gen. Methodej Kuban Medal by Chaplain Mirek Jordanek, chaplain for the Czech 3rd Contingent, based with the 41st Mechanized Battalion, 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shank in Logar province, Afghanistan, Sept. 5.
The award was named for a Czechoslovakian Catholic chaplain killed in Auschwitz in World War II, who encouraged believers of all denominations to worship together.
West and Jordanek work together to provide Soldiers in the Spartan Area of Operation with access to spiritual services. West is a Protestant minister and Jordanek is a Catholic priest.
West initially approached Jordanek to request assistance in providing Mass for the many Catholic American Soldiers.
"Many times, other ministers are not interested in working together," said Jordanek. "I was very happy Chaplain West wanted to work together."
Catholic priests are in high demand in Afghanistan. With Jordanek's help, West has been able to provide a Catholic Mass, in English, on a weekly basis for Soldiers assigned to FOB Shank.
"In Brad [West], I have found a real brother, a good Soldier and a good friend," Jordanek said.
"It's been a great blessing, having Father Jordanek here, and to receive an award like this is really an honor," West said. During the evening mass, American, Czech Soldiers, and civilians from India, who work on FOB Shank, listened solemnly as Jordanek quoted a verse from the Holy Bible.
"Your love for one another will show the world you are my disciples, John 13:35," quoted Joranek, as he presented West with the coveted award.
Jordanek and his fellow Czech Soldiers have served with the Soldiers of TF Spartan since February of 2009. The 3rd Contingent has served as part of the Logar Provincial Reconstruction Team and will redeploy through September.