By Spc. Ben Fox, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsMay 27, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - At a range, the Soldier began his day by running and firing at targets, carrying heavy loads and evaluating mock casualties.
After completing a test that visually showed his physical and mental capabilities on the battlefield, he would visually show his faith.
1st Lt. Benjamin Harrow, a platoon leader with Headquarter and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was baptized at House Creek Assault Course on Fort Hood, Texas, May 21.
"I wanted to get baptized before I went over to Iraq, but it just seemed like the timing was never right and things just weren't coming together for it," said Harrow.
"Finally when we got back, I talked to the chaplain... about it," said the Wilmington, N.C. native.
Albuquerque, N.M., native Capt. (CH) Kevin Wainwright, the 3-8 Cav chaplain, baptized Harrow.
"This is a combat unit, he is an infantry officer and this is bringing God to Soldiers and Soldiers to God," said Wainwright.
"He said he would try to put something together that was pretty special, and this is pretty special, coming out to the field with all the guys here during training and getting baptized out here," said Harrow. "It was a little different and I think different, sometimes, is good. Out here with all of the guys and the shooting going on and the tone of religion, it lets you take a step back and realize the bigger picture."
"This was a Christian sacrament, and I don't want to take anything away from that, but what I also want to get out is that God loves Soldiers. He loves all Soldiers," said Wainwright. "I think this is a visible reminder of God's love for Soldiers, and also a visible reminder of how important our spiritual core is."
"It's something that we don't focus on a lot... but when we face that moment of crisis, if you don't have something to reach back to, it can be a pretty lonely and hard place to be," he said.
Wainwright said this event was also important to help Soldiers break the stigma that what they do is evil or wrong.
"When I look at scripture and faith and God... God has a place in his heart for the warrior person of faith," said Wainwright.
"I think it was a good visual reminder that wearing this stuff (combat gear) doesn't make you unclean or less loved or somehow God wouldn't want his presence to be here," he said. "God wants to be here; God wants to be in the heart of our Soldiers."
"I think a little spiritual health is good for all Soldiers, especially when you deploy and you go through some tough times, you can realize that God is there to help you get through those tough times," said Harrow.
Wainwright also said it was important for the Soldiers to see another Soldier making the commitment instead of hearing about it.
"Soldiers are big on rituals and visuals," said Wainwright. "We can talk about a lot of things, but when you actually see it, it makes a whole lot of difference."