Archive for Army Chaplain

Fort Belvoir Gathering: US Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association, DC-Area Chapter

Our group, at about 50% strength, met on Tuesday, October 11th at the Fort Belvoir Officers’ Club for our quarterly luncheon.  Our gathering included Bill Jokela, Brian Tung, Eric and Paula Wester, Gary and Susan Dahl, Wayne Lehrer, Rick Cantrell, Donna Weddle, Timothy Mallard, Pedro Reyes and Randall Bowen.   It was a great chance to reconnect to catch up on Summer travels and hear updates about ministry developments.  We were especially blessed to have senior chaplains and the chapel NCOIC welcoming us and leading us in prayer.

More than half of our group, however, were away and many sent greetings.  For Ben and Betty Ness it was moving day to their new home, Renee Klish, Bob Richter, Dennis Madtes, Ivan Ives and Kristi Pappas all sent their regrets.  Jeff and Monika Young and Jerry and Sherry Reynolds explained they are looking forward to the national gathering in San Antonio.  Benchuck Manning was committed to a VA Hospital Pastoral Care luncheon.  Doug Lee and Ron Crews were both traveling (to Hawaii and North Carolina), and David and Janice Hicks let us know they will soon depart for a visit with their son and family in England.

Our Washington DC-area chapter of the USACCRA will be well-represented at the San Antonio gathering at the end of the month.  And we will look ahead to our next gathering when we will reconvene in the new year with two dates set:   Thursday, 2 February at Ft Myer and Tuesday, 16 May at Ft Belvoir. 

To be added to our chaplaincy contact email list, please contact SGM Susan Dahl, USA (Ret) at

Summon Only the Brave! by John W. Brinsfield, Jr.

Services for Chaplain (MG) Gunhus

Services for Chaplain (MG) Gunhus

June 24, 2016 at 10am

First Free Methodist Church 
3200 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119

July 19, 2016 at 2pm

Church of the Lutheran Brethren 
1020 W Alcott Ave, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

To be announced.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211

In lieu of flowers:

Church of the Lutheran Brethren
P.O. BOX 655, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Seattle Pacific University, University Advancement
3307 3rd Ave. West Suite 304, Seattle, WA 98119

Mayo Clinic, Dept. of Development
13400 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85259

Or the charity of your choice.


DC Chapter

USACCRA-DC Area, 23 Feb 2016

Dear Friends in Chaplaincy – What a marvelous gathering for lunch on Tuesday, 23 Feb at the Fort Myer Officers’ Club.  We were welcomed by Senior Garrison Chaplain (LTC) Mark Jones who greeted all attending and offered our invocation prayer.  Also, his spouse Chaplain (LTC) Carron Jones who served in the office of the Army Deputy Chief of Chaplains joined us.

You’ll see many familiar faces in the circle, including a number of “first time” attendees.  Also, we had a number of regulars apart from us whom we remembered in prayer: Donna Weddle (in her winter home in Arizona), Jeff and Monika Young (supporting Jeff’s sister and family during surgery), David and Janice Hicks (while Dave recovers from a recent stroke), Wayne Lehrer (doing final preparation for the 25th anniversary gathering after Desert Storm of the VII Corps in Washington DC), Doug Lee (traveling)  and Benchuck and Carolyn Manning.

Plans are for a Spring luncheon gathering at Fort Belvoir on Tuesday, May 17th.  We usually gather between 1145 and noon and kick off promptly with an invocation and blessing for our meal.  Please note the location – Fort Belvoir Officers’ Club.

East Alabama Chapter

March 10, 2016

The East Alabama Chapter of USACCRA met on March 10 in Oxford, Alabama. Chaplain (CPT) Arthur Harrison, SFC Joshua Jones, and PFC Jasmine Carter who form the ministry team in a Chemical Battalion headquartered at Fort McClellan, provided a brief overview of the ministries in which they are involved throughout the companies scattered around the State. The group thoroughly enjoyed this update on the changes that have occurred since they retired, but noted at rock bottom, much of the style of ministry remains constant.

In the picture, Front Row: Hugh Kelso, Mickey Morton, and George Gray. Middle Row: Jim Holiday, Dorothy Kelso, Sandra Morton, PFC Jasmine Carter, Diane Douthit, and Jim Wilson. Back Row: Arthur Harrison, SPC Joshua Jones, Tom Smith, Carolyn Smith, Troy Douthit, and Lama Denkins.

The Chapter will meet next time on June 28. Chaplain Jim Wilson is charge of a brief program for that gathering.

Connection with the American Public


Meet Your Army, with Chaplain (Major General) Paul K. Hurley, U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains

As part of the Army’s continuing initiative to build and sustain a connection with the American public, Chaplain (Major General) Paul Hurley visits for a free program to discuss the #MeetYourArmy initiative and the evolving role of chaplains in today’s Army. Presented in partnership with the U.S. Army Office of Public Affairs, Midwest.

Throughout the last 14 years, the American public saw a steady stream of information about the Army through television and newspapers. But as involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has died down, Americans are seeing fewer soldiers in the press. And even fewer Americans know a soldier personally.

Through the newly-created #MeetYourArmy campaign, the Army hopes to put soldiering back in the spotlight. The program will bring the Army and soldiers to communities throughout the United States, where both civilians and local press can interact with them and learn more about who defends their nation.

CHAPLAIN (MAJOR GENERAL) PAUL K. HURLEY, U.S. ARMY, was appointed the 24th Chief of Chaplains for the United States Army in May 2015, tasked with leading the Army Chaplain Corps in providing religious support to soldiers and families. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Chaplain Hurley was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1984, serving assignments as a Field Artillery Officer in Germany and at Fort Bragg, NC before resigning his commission to pursue priesthood in 1990.

Ordained a Catholic Priest in 1995, Chaplain Hurley spent five years as a parish priest in the Boston Archdiocese before rejoining the Active Duty Army Chaplain Corps in October 2000. As a chaplain, his assignments have included posts at Fort Bragg, South Korea, West Point, and Fort Campbell, KY, and have included yearlong deployments to Iraq (with the XVIII Airborne Corps Chaplain’s Office in 2005) and Afghanistan (as Combined Joint Task Force 101 Command Chaplain in 2009).

After completing studies at the Army War College in 2013, Chaplain Hurley was named Command Chaplain for United States Forces-Afghanistan, and in 2014, was assigned Command Chaplain for the XVIIIth Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, with additional responsibility as Command Chaplain for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command HQ in Afghanistan.

2016 USACCRA Reunion

Are you ready to mark your calendars?  Excitement is building as the planning moves forward for the next United States Army Chaplaincy Corps Regimental Association (USACCRA) 2016 Reunion!  The dates are set, the city is selected, and the hotel is contracted.

The 2016 USACCRA Reunion is scheduled for 26-29 October 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  The reunion will be held in the historic Menger Hotel which located across the street from The Alamo. The theme of the Reunion is “Telling Our Story.”San Antonio

San Antonio is a bustling, historical city.  Although San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the nation with the population of 1.4 million, it is known as “a large city that feels like a small town.” It dates back to the May 1st, 1718 when Franciscan missionaries and the Spanish crown established the first mission along the San Antonio River.  The mission was called Mission San Antonio de Valero.  Five other missions followed.  That first mission later became known as The Alamo.  The Alamo is number one on every visitor’s list; three to four million visitors from all over the world walk through its doors each year.

Not only historically significant, the city is a modern metropolis which offers unimaginable opportunities for millions of visitors each year. Following close behind The Alamo is the famous River Walk.  The River Walk originally began as a result of a plan to protect down town San Antonio from flooding.  Now it is a 15 mile long city park which draws visitors from everywhere across the world.

On July 5 of this year, the five missions in San Antonio were in scripted as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It is the only World Heritage site in Texas and the 23rd in the United States.  This designation has increased exponentially the number of international visitors to San Antonio.

Known as “The Military City,” San Antonio is home to more than 500,000 military members, federal civilians and their families.  The State of Texas and the city of San Antonio welcomes all military members and retirees to the city with open arms. You can click on the attached link to learn more about San Antonio.

As you can tell, the local USACCRA group is excited to host the 2016 Reunion.  As we grow closer to the date, we will introduce you to more and more details of our planning.

After the first of the year we will provide you with the link to make your hotel reservations and register for the Reunion.  In the meantime, review the attached link and begin getting excited with us!  Begin by blocking 26-29 October your calendar.  We look forward to welcoming you to San Antonio!

San Bernardino

By: The Rev. Eric Wester
Assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Director, Federal Chaplaincies

San Bernardino – Some of you may know one of the community pastors in San Bernardino is recently retired Army Chaplain (Colonel) Scottie Lloyd. Scottie and Karen moved from Washington DC to accept a Call as Pastor at Lutheran Church of Our Savior, San Bernardino, California. In the midst of the horror and pain of the mass killings in San Bernardino this Wednesday, it is not surprising that former chaplain Scottie is at the forefront (lead quote in the article) of getting clergy together to pray, console, support and stand in solidarity for peace, justice, hope and healing.…/

“This situation will require more balance and thought, as opposed to the raw feelings people are feeling now,” said Lutheran Church of Our Savior Pastor Scottie Lloyd. “This is about meeting the needs of the community, as to what they’re going through.”

Another colleague, Chaplain Mike Lembke, now at US Southern Command, Miami, expressed it beautifully in a note to me, “For many faithful this is a season of Light (Advent and Chanukah) and this article is a testimony to the power of light to overcome darkness. “ As you light candles for Advent, for Sunday worship, or for quiet meditation, prayer or a meal during this season with sunset coming quite early, take comfort in Mike’s reminder and pray for Scottie’s ministry.


As a new chaplain Captain on active duty my first year was uphill learning until I met a man who passed a torch to me with the key advice I needed to order my learning. 

       It was 1987 and three Lutheran church bodies were merging into one group called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  One of those church bodies, the American Lutheran Church, decided to gather all of their military chaplains together for one last hurrah before this new church birthed.

        When I arrived for this event, I ran into another junior chaplain like myself.  “Hey, what gives?  I thought you and I were rooming together.  The organizers of this event have put all of us new chaplains in with a bunch of senior chaplains,” my friend complained.  “Yes”, I said, “I don’t understand either.  I was looking forward to seeing you more.” 

       My friend continued.  “They have me in with some old guy.  Who are you with?”  I replied in total ignorance, “I’m rooming with an old guy named Connie Walker.”  For many this reply will elicit laughter.  Chaplain (Colonel) Connie Walker was a living legend, but a junior chaplain like me had no idea. 

       That night I met Connie and we shared and prayed together.  It was a ministry changer.  That moment of mentorship set me on a correct course on being a dedicated chaplain.  I never called Connie old again.  I promised him that if I became a senior chaplain I would mentor others as well. 

       One way I keep that promise is by mentoring a chaplain currently serving on active duty through the USACCRA-sponsored mentorship program.  It’s a great way to be matched with a younger colleague to help pass on the torch of ministry in the Army.  It is one of the reasons why I enjoy being a part of USACCRA, it’s not just for “old chaplains”, but a connection of past and present for a better future. It’s another way to serve God and country. 


CH(COL-R) Scottie Lloyd

Drones – needed a broad ethical, moral and legal discussion

The first person to fire a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone in combat and destroy a target, wrote an article in Air, Strategy and Policy in November of 2014. From his experience “War is no Video Game – not even remotely.” He describes two experiences while piloting a Predator. The first instance was before the Predator was weaponized. It happened, in September 2000, when he and his sensor operator saw Osama Bin Laden, exquisitely framed on their screen. They followed him as he moved on the compound, but all they could do was watch, because at that time no Predator was armed. He regretted not being able to kill our arch-enemy.
He describes avoiding being shot down by a MIG. The evasive actions were demanding and they had to preform maneuvers as difficult as any done as a helicopter pilot. While the pilot of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft doesn’t hear the plane’s engine, feel its motion, smell the airplane smells; and while he has a joystick, throttle, and is sitting in a Ground Control Station in a Virginia parking lot viewing TV screens, mentally and emotionally he is at war.MQ-9_Reaper_taxis
His second experience was when his crew fired the first-ever intercontinental air strike by a UAV. After the missile was fired they saw a “bright white bloom of light. As the bloom dissipated, we saw an object move quickly across the screen, flailing like a rag doll tossed in the air. It was a body, twisting and contorting and glowing from the heat of the blast. Nearly a decade-and-a –half after, that fleeting image remains burned in my memory.”
That last statement re-enforced my dedication to the work I had been doing for the last 5 years. I have been working on “Moral Injury after War.” This hidden injury from war was identified by “A Truth Commission on Conscience and War,” recommending more moral and ethical research needed on ‘Selective Conscientious Objection’ to a particular conflict and the ‘Moral Injury’ resulting from Warfighting. (Google the Truth Commission to see the entire story of the Truth Commission.)
The recommendations of the Commission led to a book by Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini: Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War and the establishment of the “Soul Repair Center” at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. Rita and I were Co-founding Directors of the Center ( I retired from the Center last May.
At the Center we did research and public education on Moral Injury. One of the groups we talked to and did research on were the Drone Pilots. Many of them suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress, some experienced it as a Disorder and as a Moral Injury. I have many questions about the use of Drones and the morality of these weapons. My major concern is what the Robotization of War will do to Military Virtues.
One of the things I stressed in our Public Education efforts at the Center was that the Military is a moral system. A value system markedly different from the value system in civilian society, but a moral system non-the-less: designed to make it possible to survive on the battlefield. Some values are these: courage is the virtue we need to preserve in the face the horror of war, not allowing fear to obscure our judgment of what needs to be done in our conduct on the battlefield; (The Drone Pilot may not need physical courage, because the drone operator operates without physical risk.) but moral courage is an important value for the drone operators to enable them to make the right decisions despite some countervailing pressures and temptations in the conduct of warfighting; the value of Loyalty to the leadership and to fellow combatants; the value of being just and acting justly; the value of self-control so acts will not be deflected by passion or emotion; and the virtue of practical wisdom – a habit of sound judgment about practical situations. These values are essential in wielding the deadly force entrusted to them by the society that sends them to the field of battle.
These were some of the issues that I carried to the “Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare” at Princeton Seminary, January 23 – 25, 2015. About 150 religious leaders, scholars and community activists attended the Conference. Speakers from a wide diversity and range of expertise provided informed input to the Conference which resulted in a document with several recommendations. One impression that was most meaningful to me as a Just War adherent and as a Chaplain who served 40 years in the Army, was the disconnect between the International Laws of War from the moral tradition that helped form these laws. One very important task for the future is to rediscover the ethical basis for the international laws. We are at great risk to move from “what is” to what “ought to be.” We have tremendous potential to create automatic weapons, but should we risk deploying autonomous weapons, not controlled by human actors and moral agents?

Herman Keizer, Jr.
Chaplain (Col) US Army (retired)