July is a big month for our nation and Corps. We celebrate the 247 th anniversary of both nation and Corps with grateful hearts to God for more blessings than we can count. The USACCRA has received several blessings in addition.
Then Chief of Chaplains Thomas Solhjem and Deputy Chief of Chaplains William Green Jr. invited USACCRA to join them for CH Solhjem’s retirement activities and to attend the Religious Leaders Symposium 10 (RLS10) in June. CH Green further gave me 10 minutes to address the symposium about the new transformation of the USACCRA and our close relationship with the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (OCCH). Over the next couple of days several senior leaders were asking how to join and promising to inform their chaplains of the Association.
Allow me to share a speical moment during CH Solhjem’s brunch. I had just arrived when in a big busy room, I saw desperately crossing the floor a chaplain shouting, “CH Lloyd, CH Lloyd!”. As he came closer, I didn’t recognize him. When he reached me, I looked at his nametag, “Long” and his rank, “CH(COL)”, and still didn’t know who he was. He could see my mystified look. Then he said excitedly, “You were my chaplain in basic training in 1987 at Ft. Jackson, SC.” He then related moments, chapel, and more that changed things for him in his life. Today, he is a senior chaplain leader providing the best religious support possible to thousands. That night during my prayers I broke down and cried. Following this remarkable homecoming several more CH(CPT)s, now CH(COL)s, came up to me to share similar stories at assignments throughout my time on active duty.
Other retired members of USACCRA have had similar experiences at events with currently serving members of the Army Chaplaincy family. Reason: it causes all to reflect on the many times they have had a Senior Chaplain/RAS/DRE come up to them at these events and thank them for being their mentor or helper. We have similar experiences related at all our local chapter lunches. We need to see each other.
This is the reason why our next Gathering in Columbia, SC, 22-25 Oct, 2024 is vitally important. As good as it is, technology cannot replace face-to-face presence with friends that matter. Despite our many platform media, psychologists and other social experts say we must have personal communication to develop and deepen life satisfying relationships. Our theme for our gathering is “Army Chaplaincy Serving God and country: 250 Years and Beyond”. Fence these dates now and keep watch as more details are made available.
Another blessing is the good news of those who generously helped save the church building CH(1LT) George L. Fox preached in before he went off to serve in WWII. The Chapel of Four Chaplains and Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation requested help to raise funds to purchase this historic building and preserve a key piece of our Army Chaplain Corps heritage. The location will be renamed the Rev. George L. Fox Memorial Chapel. For all who contributed to this effort a hearty thanks!
Graduation rewards are adding many new young enlisted, NCO, and Chaplain officers to USACCRA. Our thanks to all of you who made this benefit happen with your additional gifts.
Pro Deo et Patria,