Posted on Mar 6, 2015
CH (MAJ) Graduate Student
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In your opinion, what does a great Battalion Chaplain look like? Who was your favorite chaplain and why?

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Posted in these groups: Services-military-chaplaincy Chaplain
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Responses: 23
CSM Mark Gerecht
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The best chaplain I ever served with was a small Jewish chaplain. No matter where we were he was there. He humped with us. Sweated and froze with us. He always found away to see the troops on the ground. This guy was everywhere when we were in the field. In garrison he showed up in the motor pool on the range at sporting events in the field Sometimes he would roll up with hot chocolate or a cold soda just when you needed it the most. Help dig a foxhole or sleep in the mud with you He was always there for us. Just to talk just to inspire
Funny I am not Jewish but any day anywhere I would serve with him. He would minster to Protestants Catholics he did not judge you and only wanted to serve the spiritual needs of his soldiers.
What made him different? He walked the walk. Talked the talk and shared every burden. He was the standard by which I measured every other chaplain. No matter your religious preference or lack of religious belief this chaplain was loved by all of us because he was the real deal. I never remember anyone having a negative comment about him. It's
Been decades and I don't remember his name but he made a big impact on me for that I will always be grateful
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CH (MAJ) Graduate Student
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CSM... Thanks. I love to hear stories of chaplains like this one. What an example fo all of us who follow in his footsteps.
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LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow
LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow
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CSM Mark Gerecht Great story... I've known a few chaplains like that, and sadly, others not so much.

As I recently learned, there is one activity where the Army will never let your chaplain join in - the range. According to AR 165-1, chaplains aren't even allowed to do fam fire at the range. Surprising to me, really, given the realities of war, but that's life...

1LT Sandy Annala
CH (CPT) Heather Davis
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CSM Mark Gerecht
CSM Mark Gerecht
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Funny. Our guy was always at range density walking the line checking classes talking to soldiers etc. not qualifying

I was recently watching a documentary on IRAQ (I believe). The infantry and armor task force was in the thick of it and black in ammo. They had enemy breaching the perimeter, etc The commander said you know it bad when the chaplain picks up a weapon. I guess at that point there is nothing wrong with some good On the Job Training ( OJT).
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CH (CPT) Heather Davis
CH (CPT) Heather Davis
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You can go to the range, and encourage the Soldier's and sit under a tree and engage with them while they eat their chow. In the case some one needs to go to the hospital the Chaplain is their to accompany them in the ambulance.
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LTC Senior Strategic Cyber Planner
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Like this!
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LTC Senior Strategic Cyber Planner
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http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0005312/bio

I served with him in 3/504th PIR in the 82nd and then in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Absolutely phenomenal!
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CH (MAJ) Graduate Student
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He is retired now and living back in Columbus Georgia. Glad you got the opportunity to serve with him. Truly a privilege!
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PFC Glen King
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He was my RIP Instructor
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SPC Jonathan Sellers
SPC Jonathan Sellers
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My RIP Instructor also, and also the only one I remember by name. His story of making peace with God in Mogadishu is a great testimony.
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CW3 Aviation Materiel Officer
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Over the years I've seen a few great qualities from several chaplains that's should be emulated:
-one chaplain in Afghanistan had a service dog with her. This wasn't a bomb dog or an attack dog, but a quiet and friendly lab that would fly from FOB to FOB to cheer up the soldiers. We would always put the dog in Row 3 and it would lay between the crew seats and keep the backseaters company. We shut down for a couple hours one day to watch this chaplain and dog at work, and you could instantly see people forget that they were in a war zone just by spending a few minutes with this dog. Everyone would relax and share stories with the chaplain who would quietly listen. We were told that chaplains having service dogs was a trial program. I don't know if it was true or not, but I do hope a program like that gets off the ground.
-one chaplain would always make his rounds to the flight crews after missions. He paid special attention to the Medevac crews if he knew they had a rough day. He even went so far as to call himself the "First Up Chaplain."
- this may see part of the job, but it was reassuring to see a chaplain take his job so seriously and to have a command team stand behind him. I was on staff duty one night and a call came in requesting a chaplain. The phone call came from another unit, but they weren't turned away. This was a second world country where cell phone use was iffy to begin with and we couldn't get a hold of him. Turns out he was out to dinner with other senior officers from the command. After reaching him through a member a the command team, he excused himself and made his way back to the base to be there for this soldier that he did not know in his time of need.

On the flip side, I've also witnessed a few chaplains completely tarnish the respect that soldiers have for these officers. One in particular was ESL, with Vietnamese as his first language. His lack of English skills completely took away from a memorial service for a fallen comrade not once, but twice. The ability to be understood goes a long way with chaplains.

Overall, each branch of the Army has its nuances. Finding ways to be there for your soldiers and not being an office chaplain will go a long way. My current chaplain is known for walking through the hangars and kicking people out (to include the command team) if he catches them working late. It's a simple gesture that goes a long way.
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CH (MAJ) Graduate Student
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Chief, I appreciate all your thoughts. I have never seen a chaplain with a working dog before, but that sounds like an incredible idea. I may have to pursue that in the future. I spent time serving at a UH-60 unit at Fort Hood Texas many years ago. Aviators face unique challenges that are unlike any other branch. It was a privilege to serve that unit. Thanks for your service Chief!
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