Next week the Army will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Chaplain Assistant (56M) as its own Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). We gathered together as many Chaplain Assistants as we could, and threw them a party recently.
As so often has happened recently, just before I left to go to the feast, I was grabbed by a Soldier who told me rather breathlessly that another Soldier needed help. I sent SPC C on his way with the vehicle (it was snowing like crazy, with a strong north wind blowing -- ugh), and I stayed behind to speak with an obviously distraught young man.
A bit later I received a phone call from someone who sounded rather annoyed: "Why aren't you here?" the voice demanded.
(Didn't someone once caution about trying to serve two masters?)
I eventually trudged over to the other side of Post, and found myself very grateful for Gore-Tex jacket, boots, and socks. It was nasty out! In fact, it was so nasty out I thought I'd just leave it out.
By the time I got to the other DFAC, everyone at the party had finished not only their dinner, but their dessert as well.
I went through the serving line in the chow hall and brought my food back into the room just in time for the 'formal' part of the event. The two Command Sergeants Major who showed up (though more were invited) were each presented with a Chaplain Corps regimental coin by Soldiers from their units, and each of the Chaplain Assistants was given a small gift on behalf of the Command Chaplain.
You might notice what looks to be beer bottles on the table; they're non-alcoholic, since we're not permitted to drink alcohol while deployed to this place. I don't often think about that prohibition, one way or another, since I'm not drinking, one day at a time (as my friends who go to a lot of those AA and Al-Anon meetings would say).
SPC C was about to meet up with his new bride, so he's grown his hair out (insofar as that's possible in the Army, of course); he told me she'd kill him if he arrived bald-headed.
(I, of course, was saddened by this turn of events, but understanding. I never could convince then-SFC McG to adopt *my* hairstyle while we were in Iraq, so about of month of it from SPC C is progress.)
My sincerest thanks to MSG McG and SPC C for their service as Chaplain Assistants, especially as we approach the centenary of 56M as an MOS!
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ