Saturday, February 13, 2010
We are taught a word here, pluralism. In many circles this word is sacrilege, it opposes the very essence of religion. But here in the Army culture it represent the purpose of God's creation in us. He loved us so much that He gave us the free will to choose Him or to not to choose Him. Here we are free to worship Him in the way that we are led too.
For the past few years I have been submersed in a very white culture, I have even faced the sting of bigotry myself as I tried to stand up against racism, a disease that still exists in this very melting pot of America yet has no place in Christianity. To me no way a person who calls himself a Christian can have these very sinful feeling towards a fellow human.
Yes, I am being harsh here, but hey - this is my blog and I am an Officer of the United States Army. I have made an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and prejudice and bigotry is an enemy of our constitution.
Sorry I am running off on a tangent with this blog, but I have missed the Army and I did not realize how much until I returned. And it is because of the culture that exists here. We Are the "All Americans"
Posted by Jim Mitchem at 5:15 PM
Saturday, February 6, 2010
There is a saying in the Army - about being a volunteer, a double volunteer and a triple volunteer, a soldier must volunteer to do this job, to be airborne one must volunteer a second time because no one can be forced into this training, to go Ranger and or Special Forces one must volunteer a third time because airborne is a prerequisite. The Chaplaincy is similar, we must be called to be a soldier, called to be an officer and called to be an Army Chaplain.
At the end of CIMT we had our beret donning ceremony. The wearing of the beret symbolizes much more than the official headgear of the Army. Since WWI it has been the symbol of the elite - starting with British Tank Crews then carrying over to the SAS and Airborne. The Special Forces were the first to adopt the beret in the US with the blessing of President John F. Kennedy and the then Ranger and Airborne units were authorized. When the decision was made for the entire army to wear the beret I have to admit I was a little upset - this was a special item that had only been worn by special units. Now I realize the significance of the entire army wearing it - the United States Army is a special unit, we are different from any other army in the world, we carry a presence about us and we serve the people of the world and not ourselves.
What makes the beret even more of a symbol of the United States Army is what must be done to it before it can be worn:
When a beret is first bought it looks nothing like the final product - it is unformed and covered with extra fuzz - kind of like the civilian who is on his or her way to becoming a soldier, they are untrained, undisciplined and bring extra baggage with them.
The first step in preparing the beret is to take a razor and meticulously shave away all of the fuzz. The soldier is similar, he or she must be torn down, to be stripped of all that separates a civilian from the professional soldier. This includes attitudes, individualism and mental weakness.
Next, once the beret has been stripped of all the fuzz it is then soaked in water and placed on the head and formed into the shape of the soldiers beret. This takes time, it must be done carefully or it will look bad. It has to be left on the head until it is dry or it will not hold its shape. The soldier is the same, once broken down he or she it built back up into a new creation - that of the United States Soldier, full of confidence ability and espret de corp. This is also a slow process but once done he or she looks like nothing else, like the beret, everyone knows a United States Soldier has entered the room
Posted by Jim Mitchem at 4:32 AM
Chaplain Initial Military Training is now over, four weeks down - nine more to go! We have been to the Team Development Course, the CRBN (Gas) Chamber, Victory Tower, spent two days in the field doing our Warrior Task Training and testing (minus the combat tasks of course), Day Land Nav and Night Land Nav, the day infiltration course - practicing moving under fire with a Chaplain Assistant, and did what has been a right of passage for all soldiers - the night infiltration course where live ammo is fired overhear and explosions go off near by as we low/high crawl 100 yards to safety. Being prior service it was all a little more enjoyable this time because I understood the needs and I did not have the anxiety of the unknown.
We ended the week with our beret donning, which I will post about seperatly
Posted by Jim Mitchem at 4:05 AM