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Showing posts from September 1, 2010

Transformed in a Moment

One morning in Iraq, I left battalion headquarters to ride across the base and go to a meeting with the Command Sergeant Major of the Garrison.  We were meeting about the 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony.  We had much of the program in place, but we needed a chaplain for the invocation.  When I told the commander's assistant where I was going, two or three people in the office right away said, "Sergeant Major F*&K This!"  And smiled.  The garrison CSM had a reputation for swearing that was noticeable in an Army unit in Iraq.  I had not heard a sentence from him without an F-bomb.

The chaplain everyone assumed would give the invocation had just been transferred to the north.  Chaplain Valentine, the post Catholic chaplain, taught philosophy at Fordham University in New York City.  After 9/11 he decided to volunteer for the chaplaincy.  He was on his third tour.  From our base, he rode convoys and flew to every outpost in the south of Iraq.  The north was short of chaplains…